Skip to content
Name: Dews v. Superior Court (San Francisco)
Case #: A139102
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/30/2014

Under the Barker v. Wingo (1972) 407 U.S. 514 balancing test for evaluating federal speedy trial claims, defendant is not automatically entitled to dismissal of a case where the delay is presumptively prejudicial and the state does not provide a justification. Dews was arrested for driving under the influence on January 29, 2011. A complaint was prepared and an arrest warrant issued on July 21, 2011, but Dews was not arrested until February 11, 2013. He was arraigned on the charges later that month. The trial court denied Dews’ motion to dismiss the case for violation of his speedy trial right without balancing the Barker factors. The superior court appellate division denied Dews’ petition for writ of mandate and Dews filed a writ in the Court of Appeal. Held: Writ of mandate issued. The Sixth Amendment of the federal constitution guarantees a right to a speedy trial. Barker established a balancing test for evaluating a federal speedy trial claim and sets forth four factors that a trial court must consider together: (1) the length of the delay, (2) the reason for the delay, (3) the defendant’s assertion of his rights, and (4) prejudice to the defendant. Here, the 19-month delay in this misdemeanor case was presumptively prejudicial because it was more than more one year. As a result, the trial court was required to weigh the other Barker factors. The court rejected Dews’ claim that the case should be dismissed outright because the prosecution failed to justify the delay, disagreeing with Bellante v. Superior Court (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1. The Court of Appeal instead directed the trial court to conduct a new hearing and expressly apply the Barker balancing test.