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Name: People v. Figueroa
Case #: H043204
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/09/2017

Complaint properly dismissed under Penal Code section 859b where preliminary hearing was not held within 60 days of defendant’s not guilty plea, even though he had previously waived time when the criminal proceedings were reinstated after a doubt was declared as to his competence. After Figueroa waived arraignment on felony charges, the court suspended proceedings pursuant to Penal Code section 1368. Months later, criminal proceedings were reinstated and the trial court believed it had 60 days from the date proceedings were reinstated to conduct the preliminary hearing. Figueroa waived the 60-day requirement. Seventeen days later Figueroa entered a not guilty plea. He did not enter another 60-day time waiver. Sixty days elapsed after his plea and a preliminary hearing was not held. Figueroa ultimately moved to dismiss the complaint, citing the 60-day rule in section 859b. The trial court granted the motion. The People appealed. Held: Affirmed. Section 859b provides, in part, that “[t]he magistrate shall dismiss the complaint if the preliminary examination is set or continued more than 60 days from the date of the arraignment, plea, or reinstatement of criminal proceedings,” absent defendant’s personal waiver of this 60-day period. After analyzing the legislative history of section 859b and the text of the statute, the Court of Appeal concluded the 60-day period is triggered by the later of the defendant’s arraignment or plea, or reinstatement of criminal proceedings. Here, Figueroa’s not guilty plea was the latter of the three events and the 60-day period commenced at that point. While he gave a 60-day waiver following restoration of criminal proceedings, this occurred before he entered a plea and before the 60-day period began. As a result, “it was of no consequence” and the complaint was properly dismissed.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: