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Name: People v. Hajjaj
Case #: D054754
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/29/2009
Subsequent History: rev. granted 9/30/09 (S175307)

A finding of good cause for continuance of a trial date is dependent on the particular case and may include the unavailability of a court due to geographical factors. Penal Code section 1382, which codifies and implements a defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial, holds that an action must be dismissed unless good cause for trial beyond the statutory time period is shown. Whether good cause exists depends upon the circumstances of the case and court congestion generally will not establish good cause unless congestion is attributable to exceptional circumstances. The burden is on the prosecution to show good cause for bringing appellant to trial beyond the statutory time limit. Here, on the final day, no court rooms were available. However, at 4:15 a courtroom in an outlying area was freed up but the court did not assign the case to it, noting that due to the physical remoteness of the courtroom from the central courthouse, it would take an hour and 20 minutes for counsel and defendant to get there. The following day, the trial court dismissed the action on speedy trial grounds. The appellate court reversed, finding that when on the last day of statutorily prescribed time for trial, a courtroom becomes available but, because of its location, it would be impossible for the parties to travel there before the end of the court day, good cause is established for a one-day continuance. Additionally, appellant, being out of custody, suffered no prejudice as a result of the delay.