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CA: Man Held 17 Years Without Trial Ordered Free by Appellate Court

Attributing a California man’s 17-year detention awaiting trial for commitment as a sexually violent predator to a “systematic breakdown in the public defender system,” a California appellate court ruled Wednesday the man be released from a state hospital without trial. Full Article



The Endless Punishment of Civil Commitment

Action Alert: CA Dept. of State Hospitals Schedules Hearing on Sept. 20

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  1. R M

    Wow, 17 years! I hope George can and will sue everyone he can and I hope he can survive this cruel world and stay out of trouble since he’s been locked up since around 1995.

  2. Timothy

    1210 days the first rip for me trial by jury.
    4 days in county circa 1998 FTR dropped.
    2days in county 2001 FTR dropped.
    2003 Smith V doe.
    45 days + 3 yrs. 2011 FTR trial by jury.
    Not guilt then or now!
    Total madness.

  3. TS

    My take away for anyone who is caught in a similar legal predicament: Preparation vs speedy trial – truly a Hobson’s choice (17 years later or not) – go with preparation

    Hob·son’s choice – a choice of taking what is available or nothing at all. (I like this phrase which I just learned through the article and fully believe it should be well known by all here to avoid being ramrodded into any decision. My two cents there.)

    “Vasquez’s failure to object to the delays,” she wrote, “cannot be weighed against him given his stated desire that [Vasquez’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Terry] Shenkman be prepared for trial.”

    “The People ascribe to Vasquez a desire to avoid trial,” Feuer wrote. “However, there is no evidence in the record to support the People’s contention that Vasquez did not want to have a trial on the petition. Rather, we find substantial evidence supports the trial court’s conclusion that Vasquez ‘was forced to choose between proceeding to trial with an unprepared attorney, or giving up his right to a speedy trial—truly a Hobson’s choice. Under these circumstances, it is unfair to give significant weight to Mr. Vasquez’s failure to assert his right to a speedy trial.’”

    I would say go with full preparation no matter the delay all things considered. Just be aware of Ake v OK (SCOTUS) where experts can be provided by the courts who really are not helpful in the end; however, will qualify to fill the expert need requested. A little personal experience there with that piss poor move by the courts…

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