Com. v. Mayfield

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtBefore JONES; ROBERTS
Citation469 Pa. 214,364 A.2d 1345
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant, v. Robert King MAYFIELD.
Decision Date05 November 1976

Page 1345

364 A.2d 1345
469 Pa. 214
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant,
Robert King MAYFIELD.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Argued June 22, 1976.
Decided Oct. 8, 1976.
Rehearing Denied Nov. 5, 1976.

Page 1346

[469 Pa. 215] William T. Nicholas, Dist. Atty., Ross Weiss, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Eric J. Cox, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief, Appeals Div., for appellant.

Joseph A. Malloy, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Stephen J. McEwen, Jr., Upper Darby, for Pa. District Attys. Assn.



ROBERTS, Justice.

This case presents the issue whether Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100(c) 1 ever permits a trial court to grant a timely application by the prosecution to extend the prescribed time for trial on the sole ground that the court cannot provide trial within the prescribed period. Rule 1100(c) provides that applications by the Commonwealth attorney to extend time 'shall be granted only if trial cannot be commenced within the prescribed period despite due diligence by the Commonwealth.' 2 The Superior Court concluded that this provision does not permit extensions predicated upon what that court termed 'judicial delay.' It therefore held that the extension granted by the trial court was in error and ordered appellee discharged. 3 We granted the Commonwealth's petition for allowance of appeal and stayed the Superior Court's order. 4 We reverse and reinstate the judgment of sentence.

A written complaint charging driving under the influence of liquor was filed against appellee Robert King Mayfiled on November 29, 1974. Mayfiled waived a preliminary hearing, and an indictment was returned on February 20, 1975. On that day, the prosecutor certified [469 Pa. 217] to the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County that the case was ready for trial. The court administrator scheduled the trial for June 6, 1975, 190 days after the filing of the complaint. On May 16, 1975, 11 days before the 180 days period for trial was to expire, the prosecution petitioned the court

Page 1347

for an extension of time for trial pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100(c) based on the inability of the court to schedule appellee's trial within the period allowed by rule 1100. On May 27, 1975, 180 days after the complaint was filed, appellee filed an application to dismiss the charges with prejudice as provided by rule 1100(f). 5 A hearing was held on both petitions on May 30, 1975, after which the court granted the petition for extension of time for trial, directing that the trial be held on or before September 12, 1975, and denied the application to dismiss. Trial was held on June 10, 1975. Appellee was convicted and sentenced to a fine of $300.

Rule 1100 was adopted by the Court pursuant to our supervisory powers. Commonwealth v. Hamilton, 449 Pa. 297, 297 A.2d 127 (1972). It is intended both to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts of common pleas and to provide an objective standard for protection of a defendant's right to a speedy trial. 6 The rule provided a transition period during which both the court system and the attorneys for the Commonwealth could make the adjustments[469 Pa. 218] necessary to meet the rule's mandate. 7 In adopting rule 1100, we gave practical effect to the United States Supreme Court's observation that state courts could, pursuant to their supervisory powers, establish "fixed time period(s) within which cases must normally be brought." Commonwealth v. Hamilton, supra at 302, 297 A.2d at 130 (1972) (quoting Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 530, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 2192, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 (1972)).

The rule does not permit an attorney for the Commonwealth to arbitrarily delay trying a case beyond the prescribed period. Rather, the prosecutor must show 'due diligence' in bringing the case to trial and obtain a court extension, or the case is dismissed with prejudice. See Pa.R.Crim.P. 1100(f).

The calendaring of cases lies ultimately within the power and responsibility of the trial court. The ABA Project on Standards for Criminal Justice, Standards Relating to the Function of the Trial Judge § 3.8(a) (Approved Draft, 1972) provides:

'The trial court has the ultimate responsibility for proper management of the criminal calendar and [469 Pa. 219] should take measures to insure that cases are listed

Page 1348

on the calendar and disposed of promptly as circumstances permit.'

Section 1.2 of the ABA Standards Relating to Speedy Trial 8 provides:

'Control over the trial calendar should be vested in the court. The prosecuting attorney should be required to file as a public record periodic reports with the court setting forth the reasons for delay as to each case for which he has not requested trial within a prescribed time following charging. The prosecuting attorney should also advise the court of facts relevant in determining the order of cases on the calendar.' 9

This Court has expressly recognized the need to encourage trial courts, as well as the prosecution, to act promptly in criminal cases. We stated in Hamilton:

'(A) mandatory time requirement will act as a stimulant to those entrusted with the responsibility of managing court calendars.'

[469 Pa. 220] 449 Pa. at 308, 297 A.2d at 133. This in turn helps eliminate the backlog of criminal cases in the courts of Pennsylvania. Moreover, the commentary to rule 1100 states that the transition period provided by the rule was adopted to afford our courts a period of accommodation to comply with the rule:

'The backlog of cases in some urban counties and the present lack of sufficient court terms in some less populous judicial districts would prevent the immediate achievement of the goal. Therefore, for cases initiated within the first year, the goal of prompt trial is set at 270 days; thereafter, all counties will be expected to comply with the 180-day limit.'

The Superior Court, concluding that rule 1100 was...

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247 cases
  • Com. v. Hamm
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • February 17, 1984
    ...The trial court, after hearing, granted an extension until October 19. Trial commenced on October 10. In Commonwealth v. Mayfield, 469 Pa. 214, 364 A.2d 1345 (1976), the Supreme Court "[T]he trial court may grant an extension under rule 1100(c) only upon a record showing: (1) the 'due dilig......
  • Com. v. Hollingsworth
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • September 20, 1985
    ...In reviewing the propriety of an extension order, this Court is guided by our Supreme Court's pronouncement in Commonwealth v. Mayfield, 469 Pa. 214, 222, 364 A.2d 1345, 1349-50 [346 Pa.Super. 206] Henceforth, the trial court may grant an extension under rule 1100(c) only upon a record show......
  • Com. v. Kuhn
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 23, 1984
    ...and construction in the courthouse. Judicial delay constitutes a valid reason justifying a Rule 1100 extension. Commonwealth v. Mayfield, 469 Pa. 214, 364 A.2d 1345 Accordingly, we find that appellant does not prevail on this issue. Suppression Appellant contends that the court below erred ......
  • Com. v. Maxwell
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • May 24, 1984
    ...v. Ehredt, 485 Pa. 191, 401 A.2d 358 (1979); Commonwealth v. Mitchell, 472 Pa. 553, 372 A.2d 826 (1977); Commonwealth v. Mayfield, 469 Pa. 214, 364 A.2d 1345 (1976). Moreover, this Court has held that Rule 1100 requires that the Commonwealth prove by a preponderance of evidence that it acte......
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