State v. Pizzuto

In State v. Pizzuto, 55 Wn. App. 421, 778 P.2d 42 (1989), the defendant was apprehended in Montana and was held on arrest warrants from both Washington and Idaho. Id. at 423. Washington agreed to subordinate its extradition request to Idaho's but placed a hold on Pizzuto that would be activated if the defendant were released from custody or found not guilty. Id. at 424-25. Pizzuto was sentenced to death in Idaho. Id. at 425. After sentencing, Washington officials inquired as to when Pizzuto would be available for trial in Washington. Id. Idaho officials replied that his presence was required there until posttrial motions were heard. Id. Washington kept in continued communication with Idaho officials until Pizzuto was transferred to King County to face charges for crimes that occurred in Washington. Id. Pizzuto claimed that the state breached the speedy trial requirements by agreeing to allow Idaho to proceed with its trial and by failing to bring him before a Washington court within speedy trial limits. Id. The state responded that the delay was justified under CrR 3.3(g)(2). Id. at 425-26. Noting that no contrary authority existed, Division One of the Court of Appeals interpreted "trial" as used in CrR 3.3(g)(2) to "encompass sentencing and posttrial motions regardless of the order in which they occur." Id. at 427. The Pizzuto court gave several reasons for interpreting the term "trial" to include sentencing and posttrial motions. First, this interpretation would allow one jurisdiction to complete its prosecution before another jurisdiction is required to begin, assuring that the defendant can be physically present for both criminal proceedings. Id. This interpretation would also allow the second jurisdiction to await the results of the first trial and motions before deciding how to proceed. Id. Moreover, the Pizzuto court recognized that an interpretation of the rule that requires a defendant to be available to a second jurisdiction for trial on any day on which he is not physically in the courtroom in the first jurisdiction would prove awkward and would impose an undue burden on the state to transport the defendant between jurisdictions. Id. at 427-28. In Pizzuto's case, transporting the defendant to King County to be arraigned during his sentencing in Idaho would have triggered Washington's 60-day speedy trial rule and could have prejudiced the defendant's ability to defend himself in both proceedings. Id. at 428.