Does a Defendant Waive His Speedy Trial Right When He Requests a Continuance Prior to the Expiration of the Time Period ?
In State v. Naveira, 873 So. 2d 300 (Fla. 2004), the court held that a defendant's right to a speedy trial under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191 was not violated where a defendant invoked the speedy trial rule through a notice of expiration, a trial was scheduled as provided in the rule's recapture provisions, and the only reason the trial was not held according to the recapture provision was the defendant's own motion for a continuance. See Naveira, 873 So. 2d at 310.
The Fourth District denied the State's motion and issued an amended opinion which included a narrow reading of Naveira.
The district court distinguished Naveira because Nelson had not invoked the recapture period through the filing of a notice of expiration. See Nelson, 993 So. 2d at 1076.
In the view of the district court, Nelson was not unavailable for trial during the term provided by the rule (i.e., the ninety-day juvenile speedy trial term and the recapture period), and had not requested a continuance after invocation of the rule-based speedy trial rights, which would have constituted a waiver under Naveira. See Nelson (citing State v. Gilliam, 884 So. 2d 128 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004)).
Thus, the Fourth District maintained its conclusion that the post-expiration continuance did not waive Nelson's speedy trial rights. See id.
The district court then attempted to harmonize Naveira with Stewart v. State, 491 So. 2d 271 (Fla. 1986), which held that "when a defendant requests a continuance prior to the expiration of the applicable speedy trial time period for the crime with which he is charged, the defendant waives his speedy trial right as to all charges which emanate from the same criminal episode." Stewart, 491 So. 2d at 272.
To do so, the Fourth District held that a motion for continuance is a nullity when filed after the speedy trial period has expired but before the notice of expiration invokes the State's right of recapture. See Nelson, 993 So. 2d at 1077.
In addition, the Fourth District certified the aforementioned question of great public importance to this Court, and the State invoked this Court's discretionary jurisdiction to answer that certified question. See id.