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Name: People v. Manzo (2023) 96 Cal.App.5th 538
Case #: E079991
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/17/2023

Trial court erred by dismissing felony charges against defendant where he failed to show that the five-year delay in prosecuting the case, which led to the loss of dashcam footage evidence, prejudiced him. In February 2017, the Riverside County District Attorney filed a complaint charging Manzo with three felony offenses based on evidence that was discovered during a traffic stop. Five years later, he was arrested and arraigned on the charges after completing his sentence in a different case. He moved to dismiss the charges on the ground that the delay in prosecuting him violated his due process rights. He argued the delay between the filing of charges against him and his arraignment prejudiced him for several reasons, including that video footage of his arrest from the officer’s dashcam was no longer available. The trial court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint. The District Attorney appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in dismissing the case because Manzo suffered no prejudice from the delay. Held: Reversed. The Court of Appeal concluded there was no substantial evidence supporting the trial court’s finding that Manzo was prejudiced by the delay in prosecuting him and the loss of the dashcam footage. Manzo needed to show actual prejudice resulting from a delay in prosecution, but he only offered unsupported speculation that the footage had exculpatory value. Prejudice cannot be presumed and speculation is not enough. Although the footage might have helped Manzo’s case by contradicting the officer’s version of events, it also could have helped the prosecution’s case.