Hundley v. Ashworth

In Hundley v. Ashworth, 181 W. Va. 379, 382 S.E.2d 573 (1989), the Court examined the due process rights of the defendant and held that an eight-year delay between the report of alleged child abuse and the defendant's indictment did not violate due process. 181 W. Va. at 383, 382 S.E.2d at 577. The Hundley Court examined the reasoning employed by this Court in State ex rel. Leonard v. Hey, 269 S.E.2d 394 (1980), noting that the Leonard Court utilized a "burden-shifting mechanism by finding the delay to be presumptively prejudicial and requiring the State to rebut the presumption of prejudice." 181 W. Va. at 382, 382 S.E.2d at 576. The Hundley Court specified, however, that such an analysis was "limited to the situation where the prosecutor knew of the defendant's 'location and identification . . . throughout the period.'" Id., 382 S.E.2d at 576. The Hundley Court explained: "Furthermore, even in those limited situations where Leonard does apply, the State in rebutting the prejudice need only show that the delay was not deliberately designed to gain a tactical advantage over the defendant. Once this is shown, the defendant is not entitled to prevail on a motion to dismiss the indictment under a due process claim for delay." (181 W. Va. at 383, 382 S.E.2d at 576-77.)