Herrick v. Municipal Court, Southern Judicial Dist., San Mateo County

Decision Date19 June 1957
Citation151 Cal.App.2d 804,312 P.2d 264
PartiesStephen Cowan HERRICK, Petitioner and Appellant, v. The MUNICIPAL COURT, SOUTHERN JUDICIAL DISTRICT, COUNTY OF SAN MATEO, State of California, Respondent. Civ. 17594.
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals

Sullivan & West, San Mateo, for appellant.

Edmund G. Brown, Atty. Gen., Victor Griffith, Deputy Atty. Gen., for respondent.

KAUFMAN, Presiding Justice.

This is an appeal from an Order denying a petition for a writ of prohibition and discharging an alternative writ of prohibition. A verified petition for the above writ was filed on June 1, 1956, in the Superior Court of San Mateo County alleging that appellant had been denied his right to a speedy trial in a misdemeanor case. The petition was heard by Judge A. R. Cotton.

Appellant, Stephen Cowan Herrick, was arrested April 3, 1956. On April 6th, a complaint was filed charging him with violating Vehicle Code Section 502, with a prior offense also being charged. On April 13th, the case was continued for arraignment at the request of the defendant until April 23rd. On April 18th, appellant waived the arraignment, entered a plea of not guilty, and requested a trial by jury. At this time, appellant advised the court that he was not waiving nor would he waive time. The case was assigned for trial by jury on June 8, 1956. On May 14th, appellant filed an affidavit in support of motion to dismiss on the grounds that defendant had not been brought to trial within 30 days after the date of his arrest, as required by section 1382, subdivision 3 of the Penal Code. On May 21st, this motion was heard in the Municipal Court by Judge Edward I. McAuliffe and after oral arguments by both sides the court denied the motion.

It was shown, at the above hearing, that 48 days had elapsed from the date of arrest to the date of hearing on the motion. The court stated that in fixing the trial date for June 8, 1956, it was aware the trial was being set beyond the 30 day period. The reasons given was that there were 13 criminal cases set for jury trial between April 18 and June 8, 1956; there were two holidays during said period; and, after checking the calendar for said period, it was found that a full day was not available for trial of this case.

The court indicated there were two departments of the Municipal Court, one of which was only concerned with civil cases between April 3 and June 8th. The court further stated: 'I doubt whether this matter would have been set for trial regardless of the fact that the civil judge may have been available by setting his own calendar aside. I don't know where the trial would have been heard. There is only one jury box for two courts here.'

Appellant then filed a petition for writ of prohibition in the Superior Court of San Mateo County, restraining the trial court from taking any further action in the case. An alternative writ of prohibition was issued. This alternative writ was later discharged and appellant's petition denied. Appellant appeals from this denial.

Appellant contends a showing by the Municipal Court that one of its two departmetns could not assign the instant case for trial, and did not try said case within a period of 30 days, by reason of the fact that it could not find a full day to devote to the trial of this case because of a full calendar, while the other department of the court was solely concerned with civil matters, during all of said time, does not constitute good cause for failure to try said case, as required by section 1382, subdivision 3 of the Penal Code. The section reads as follows:

'1382. The court, unless good cause to the contrary is shown, must order the action to be dismissed in the following cases:

* * *

* * *

'3. Where the trial has not been postponed upon the defendant's application, if the defendant in a misdemeanor case in an inferior court, is not brought to trial within 30 days after he is arrested and brought within the jurisdiction of the court, unless by his own neglect or failure to appear in court when his presence is lawfully required, his trial must be postoned or in case a new trial is to be had following an appeal from an inferior court, if the defendant is not brought to trial within 30 days after the remittitur is filed in the trial court or within 30 days after the judgment on appeal becomes final if the new trial is to be held in the superior court.'

When it has been established that a defendant in a criminal proceeding, who has not waived time, has not been tried within the 30-day period, the action must, upon his motion, be dismissed, unless good cause existed for the delay. The burden of proving that good cause exists is upon the prosecution. People v. Morino, 85 Cal. 515, 24 P. 892.

If good cause is shown for not trying the defendant within the period prescribed by law, the defendant is not entitled to relief. Harris v. Municipal Court, 209 Cal. 55, 64, 285 P. 699. What constitutes good cause depends on the circumstances of each case. People v. Godlewski, 22 Cal.2d 677, 140 P.2d 381; Muller v. Justice's Court, 129 Cal.App.2d 570, 277 P.2d 866.

Appellant correctly cites In re Vacca, 125 Cal.App.2d 751, 271 P.2d 162; People v. Buckley, 116 Cal. 146, 47 P. 1009; Dearth v. Superior Court, 40 Cal.App.2d 56, 104 P.2d 376; People v. Molinari, 23 Cal.App.Supp.2d 761, 67 P.2d 767 and Sigle v. Superior court, 125 Cal.App.2d 747, 271 P.2d 526, for the proposition that a showing that a large number of civil cases were pending does not excuse failure to assign a sufficient number of judges to handle criminal cases. No proof was offered that the trial court had advised the Judicial Council of the fact that it could not keep abreast of its criminal cases as required by law.

In Sigle v. Superior Court, supra, the court stated in 125 Cal.App.2d at page 748, 271 P.2d at page 527:

'To comply with the provision contained in section 1050 of the Penal Code that criminal matters should be given precedence over civil matters and to enable defendants in criminal actions to have the speedy trials which are guaranteed by the Constitution a greater number of judges should have been assigned to departments handling criminal matters. There are twenty-two judges in the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco, and the showing that a large number of civil cases were pending does not excuse the failure to assign a sufficient number of judges to handle criminal matters. Nor was there any showing made that the chairman of the judicial council was notified that a sufficient number of judges was not available to try criminal cases. In rule 35, adopted by the judicial council for the guidance of the superior court, it is provided that the departments handling criminal cases shall be sufficient in number to hear all criminal cases within the time required by law. Dearth v. Superior Court, supra.'

Respondent argues the courts in In re Vacca, supra, and Sigle v. Superior Court, supra, were influenced by the fact that there were other judges available in the county to hear criminal cases and there was no showing the Judicial Council was notified of the lack of judges. He attempts to distinguish these facts from the case at bar by arguing the availability of another judge, or even the assigning of additional judges, would have been useless because of the lack of facilities. He states that the fact that there was no date available for trial because of a congested criminal and civil calendar between the time of arraignment on April 18th and June 8th, coupled...

To continue reading

Request your trial
21 cases
  • People v. Johnson
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • 29 février 1980
    ...other hand, does not constitute good cause. 16 Neither does delay caused by improper court administration. (Herrick v. Municipal Court (1957) 151 Cal.App.2d 804, 810, 312 P.2d 264.) Although we perceive no objection to the principles stated in the preceding paragraph, we question those deci......
  • People v. Wilson
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • 9 juillet 1963
    ...the trial court from taking any further action in the criminal proceeding other than to order its dismissal. (Herrick v. Municipal Court (1957) 151 Cal.App.2d 804, 312 P.2d 264; Coughlan v. Justice Court (1954) 123 Cal.App.2d 654, 267 P.2d 368.) And while there was some uncertainty in the e......
  • Hankla v. Municipal Court
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • 26 juin 1972
    ...275, 277, 47 Cal.Rptr. 716; Schindler v. Municipal Court (1962) 203 Cal.App.2d 13, 15, 21 Cal.Rptr. 217; Herrick v. Municipal Court (1957) 151 Cal.App.2d 804, 805, 312 P.2d 264; and 5 Witkin, Cal.Procedure (2d ed. 1971) Extraordinary Writs, § 178, p. 3938; and 6 Id., Appeal, § 55, p. 4070.)......
  • People v. Katzman
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • 13 février 1968
    ...v. Echols, 125 Cal.App.2d 810, 816--817, 271 P.2d 595; In re Vacca, 125 Cal.App.2d 751, 753, 271 P.2d 162; Herrick v. Municipal Court, 151 Cal.App.2d 804, 807, 312 P.2d 264.) No judge has an inherent right to try any particular case nor to refuse to transfer cases out of his department. (Pe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT