State v. Ramos

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State v. Ramos

Case Number
A-21-0913
Court Number
Johnson
Call Date
September 15, 2022
Case Time
9:30 AM
Extended Case Summary

A-21-0913, State v. Ramos

State of Nebraska (Appellee) v. Eric Ramos (Appellant)

District Court for Johnson County, District Judge Vicky Johnson

Attorney for Appellant:  Timothy S. Noerrlinger

Attorney for Appellees:  Stacy M. Foust (Attorney General’s Office)

Criminal Action:  Speedy Trial

Action taken by the Trial Court:  The district court for Johnson County overruled Appellant’s motion for absolute discharge wherein he alleged violations of his statutory and constitutional rights to speedy trial.

Assignments of Error on Appeal:  On appeal, Appellant assigns that contrary to the district court’s findings, both his statutory and his constitutional rights to a speedy trial were violated. Appellant asserts that the court incorrectly calculated the speedy trial deadline to bring him to trial. He also claims that as a result of the delay in bringing him to trial, his right to due process was violated.

Extended Case Summary

Facts:  On October 19, 2017, the State filed an information charging appellant, Eric Ramos, with one count of first degree murder, two counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony, one count of first degree assault, and one count of tampering/destruction of evidence. The information also alleged that Ramos was a habitual criminal. The State later amended the information by dismissing the count of first degree assault and the corresponding count of use of a weapon to commit a felony.

On October 24, Ramos filed a plea in abatement, alleging that his preliminary hearing had been deficient and that the State had not submitted sufficient evidence to warrant the bind-over of the case from county court to district court. The plea in abatement was overruled in January 2018. After multiple discovery motions and other delays, jury selection finally began in July 2018, and on August 6, the jury was empaneled and trial began.

On August 13, Ramos motioned for a mistrial based on conduct of the State and one of its witnesses who failed to comply with a sequestration order. That motion was granted by the district court the same day. The State thereafter stipulated to a change of venue requested by Ramos, and a change of venue was granted by the district court on September 5. A new trial was scheduled to begin in Saline County on January 3, 2019.

Ramos filed a plea in bar on November 2, 2018, alleging that the State should be prevented from prosecuting Ramos in this matter because of prosecutorial conduct, which was intended to provoke or goad Ramos into moving for a mistrial. As such, Ramos claimed that retrial and re-prosecution of this case was barred by double jeopardy and both the U.S. and State Constitutions.

The district court denied Ramos’ plea in bar on August 30, 2019. Ramos appealed from this decision on September 29. A mandate from the Court of Appeals affirming the district court’s decision was spread on the records in the Johnson County District Court on March 31, 2021. The district court appointed new co-counsel for Ramos after finding that prior counsel had since been appointed to serve as a county court judge, and ordered a new trial to begin on August 10.

On July 21, 2021 Ramos filed a motion for absolute discharge, alleging a violation of both his statutory and constitutional rights to a speedy trial. At a hearing on the motion for discharge held July 29, Ramos argued that the speedy trial deadline passed on June 17; the State argued that the speedy trial deadline had not yet passed as of the filing of Ramos’ motion, and therefore the motion was premature. The district court took the matter under advisement and on October 29 denied Ramos’ motion for discharge.

Ramos appeals from the district court’s order denying his motion for discharge. Specifically, he asserts that his statutory right to a speedy trial was violated because an “inordinate and unreasonable” period of time passed between the spreading of the mandate and the scheduled date of his new trial, and because the district court misunderstood and misapplied case law concerning mandates and speedy trial calculations. Ramos further argues that the six-month speedy trial clock did not restart after the mandate on remand from the Court of Appeals, but instead restarted on the date of the mistrial and was merely tolled by his plea in bar and during the pendency of interlocutory appeals concerning that plea in bar. It then started up again in March 2021, when the mandate was spread in the district court. Ramos also argues that his constitutional rights to speedy trial and due process have been violated due to significant delays caused by the State or by the district court, which prejudiced his defense through the dimming of memories and loss of exculpatory evidence.

Case Location
Midland University
Court Type
District Court
Schedule Code
A1
Panel Text
Pirtle, Chief Judge, Bishop and Arterburn, Judges