People v. Standish

Decision Date29 October 2004
Docket NumberNo. B166344.,B166344.
Citation123 Cal.App.4th 799,20 Cal.Rptr.3d 458
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesThe PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Jared Jacob STANDISH, Defendant and Respondent.

Steve Cooley, District Attorney, Brent D. Riggs and Shirley S.N. Sun, Deputy District Attorneys, for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Michael P. Judge, Public Defender, Robert M. Wilder and John Hamilton Scott, Deputy Public Defenders, for Defendant and Respondent.

ALDRICH, J.

Penal Code section 859b1 requires that a criminal defendant's preliminary examination be held within 10 court days from the time of arraignment or plea, if the defendant is in custody. The 10-day period may be extended for good cause, but the defendant must be granted a conditional release on his or her own recognizance (O.R.) pending the hearing. Respondent Jared Jacob Standish's preliminary hearing was extended past the 10-court-day period, but his request to be released on his own recognizance was denied. Subsequently, upon Standish's pre-trial motion, pursuant to section 995 the superior court set aside an information charging him with various offenses, on the ground section 859b had been violated. Plaintiff and appellant the People of the State of California appeal the superior court's order. We conclude the failure to grant Standish the statutorily-mandated O.R. release denied his substantial rights, entitling him to relief under section 995. We therefore affirm the trial court's order.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
1. Facts.2

Sometime during the first week of April 2002, Standish dangled his two-year-old daughter, Brittany, from the family's second story apartment balcony over a concrete pavement below. Neighbors yelled to Standish to take Brittany back inside, and after dangling her for approximately two minutes, he did so. Annette Madison, one of Standish's neighbors, telephoned child protective services.

On April 5, 2002, Standish killed the family cat by choking, stomping, and decapitating it. Brittany was present during part of Standish's attack on the pet before her mother could remove her, and Brittany subsequently saw the cat's blood on the walls and floor and knew her father had killed it.

Standish threw the cat's body onto Madison's balcony. Madison informed police, and Standish was arrested. Subsequently, when Standish was released on bond, he exited his apartment as Madison was entering hers, and stated, "Whoa, aren't you scared." Standish then began punching his wife, Jennifer, in the face with his fists. Madison telephoned police again. Standish subsequently told Madison that she had put a spell on him and had broken up his family, and he was going to cut her throat.

2. Procedure.
a. Proceedings prior to December 2002.

The record before us does not contain the original complaints filed against Standish, or most minute orders prior to December 2002. According to the comments of the parties below and the representations of the parties on appeal, charges were originally brought against Standish related to the incidents in which he killed the cat and dangled Brittany over the balcony. He was released on bail, whereupon he made threats to Madison and punched his wife. He was rearrested, additional charges were filed related to the new incidents, and the two cases were consolidated. Proceedings were suspended pursuant to section 1368, so that Standish's competence could be evaluated. He was placed in custody for that purpose in April 2002. Standish was eventually found competent to stand trial in late November or early December 2002. The case was set for preliminary hearing but was dismissed because the People were unable to produce Madison as a witness.

According to the parties, the operative complaint that is at issue here was re-filed on December 11, 2002, in case No. MA025716, and Standish was arraigned and pleaded not guilty on the same date.

b. Continuance granted on December 24, 2002.

Standish's preliminary hearing was scheduled for December 24, 2002, the ninth day of the ten-day statutory period for holding the preliminary hearing after arraignment. On that date, the defense announced ready. The People moved to continue the hearing for good cause, on the grounds that witness Madison, who had been subpoenaed, was nonetheless out-of-state for the holidays. Madison had left a message for the prosecutor, who had been engaged in another trial, stating that she had received the subpoena but had prepaid tickets for a vacation during the holidays. Standish objected to the continuance and asked to be released on his own recognizance if the court granted it. He did not expressly argue that section 859b required his release. Defense counsel represented that Standish was taking medication that "address[ed] the issues he had before."

The court, the Honorable Randolph A. Rogers, stated, "Right now I'm not inclined to release him on his own recognizance. I might have considered that, I suppose, if this is really a medical issue and I had some sort of competent medical testimony. But the file is replete with incidents that obviously cause great concern." It found good cause to continue the matter and set a new date of January 7, 2003. It also set "further proceedings" for January 3, 2003, in case Madison became available by that date.

c. Standish's December 31, 2002 motion for dismissal or release.

On December 31, 2002, Standish moved for dismissal of his case. Appearing before the Honorable Steven D. Ogden, Standish argued that on December 24, "There was a request for Mr. Standish to be released from custody, based upon going past the 10-day period under 859b of the Penal Code. That was denied, and I don't believe with any good reason for not releasing him." Defense counsel argued that even if the witness was unavailable, the People could have introduced the testimony of a police officer pursuant to Proposition 115. Therefore, defense counsel asked that the case be dismissed or, "at a minimum," Standish be released from custody pending the preliminary hearing. Standish reiterated his objection to the previously-scheduled continuance "under 859b."

The court stated that it would not reconsider the good cause issue, because a different judge had already concluded good cause existed. It denied the motion to dismiss and refused to release Standish on his own recognizance, but stated Standish could renew the motion without prejudice on January 7, 2003, the date scheduled for the preliminary hearing.

d. Preliminary hearing.

On January 7, 2003, the matter was sent for preliminary hearing, again before Judge Rogers. Standish moved that he be released on his own recognizance pursuant to section 859b, "in that his preliminary hearing could have and should have occurred under Proposition 115 within the time period and there should not have been a good cause finding to go outside the period." The prosecutor represented that, "[t]he officer that would have been needed was not available on the date that was set for preliminary hearing. . . . [¶] We were not able to go forward on that day, Prop. 115 or otherwise." The court denied the motion, reasoning, "I would be at a loss to understanding [sic] how I can grant the motion anyway because I'm the one that found good cause on December 24 to continue to today's date."

The preliminary hearing transpired and Standish was held to answer on charges of cruelty to an animal (§ 597, subd. (a)), cruelty to a child by inflicting unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering (§ 273a, subd. (b)), making criminal threats (§ 422), child abuse (§ 273a, subd. (a)), and battery upon a spouse or cohabitant (§ 243, subd. (e)(1)). An information filed on January 21, 2003, in case No. MA025716 charged Standish with the crimes for which he was held to answer, and included allegations that Standish had personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, when committing cruelty to an animal (§ 12022, subd. (b)(1)), and that the criminal threats and spousal battery offenses were committed while Standish was released from custody within the meaning of section 12022.1.

At the close of the preliminary hearing, Standish renewed his motion for dismissal of the case pursuant to section 859b or for release on his own recognizance. The court did not further address the request.

e. Standish's motion to set aside the information.

On February 27, 2003, Standish filed a motion to set aside the information pursuant to section 995, on the grounds he had not been legally committed by a magistrate. He asserted that he was illegally held in custody at the time of his preliminary hearing in violation of section 859b; it was "questionable" whether good cause to continue the hearing existed; and section 859b required his O.R. release. In opposition, the People raised various waiver arguments.

Judge Thomas R. White heard and granted Standish's motion. The court rejected the People's waiver arguments and concluded the right to a timely preliminary hearing was a fundamental right. It found "there was a denial of the defendant's rights under 859b; that the defendant should have been released on his own recognizance, and that based upon that denial, the 995 motion should be granted." It set aside counts 1, 2, and 3, pursuant to section 995. At a further hearing conducted on March 24, 2003, the court set aside the accusation on counts 4 and 5, pursuant to section 995.3 Standish was released.

DISCUSSION
1. Waiver issues.

Preliminarily, we address the People's claims of waiver. The People argue that Standish "waived [his] rights under section 859b by failing to assert them in a timely manner." The People fault Standish for moving for dismissal rather than bringing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, mandate, or prohibition, for purportedly "acquiesc[ing] in the continuance," and purportedly failing to sufficiently state his objection to the continuance.

The People failed to...

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