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Continuing Hearing on Motion to Suppress When Denying Continuance Would Result in Dismissal

Case Name: People v. Brown (2023) __ Cal.5th ___
Case #: S271877/H048462
Last Updated: March 27, 2023

Did the trial court err in granting the People’s motion under Penal Code section 1050 to continue the hearing on a motion to suppress evidence, when it was reasonably foreseeable that denying the continuance would result in a dismissal of the case but the People otherwise failed to show good cause for a continuance?

Held:

“This case involves a motion to continue the hearing on a suppression motion. (§ 1538.5.) We conclude the Ferguson principles apply when the People are unable to proceed with such a hearing. If the challenged evidence is so critical that its suppression would require dismissal of the case, the court must generally grant a continuance unless dismissal would be in furtherance of justice. The burden is on the prosecution to show an inability to go forward without the evidence in dispute. The court, however, must ultimately determine whether dismissal of the case is reasonably probable absent a continuance.”

This case was decided on 3/27/2023.

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