From the Billings Gazette this report on the effect of a 4 year delay on the prosecution of DWI vehicular triple homicide; prosecution delays and the judge’s error led to the dismissal of charges in a drunken-driving crash that killed three people in Petroleum County, Montana--this is from Diane Cochrane's article:
"District Court Judge E. Wayne Phillips dismissed the case against Troy Jay Child because more than four years passed between the Sept. 15, 2005, wreck and the date set for trial. 'Stepping back and viewing the
entirety of the delays in this case, the Court cannot help but being struck by the total of 1,605 days of delay,' Phillips wrote in a 15-page order. 'That is reprehensible.' The judge was responsible for some of the delay. His decision will not be appealed, an official said.
'I don’t know how to describe it,' said Nancy Nelson, whose son, Jim, died in the crash. 'We’re just totally aggravated over the whole deal. It’s been one nightmare after another since the wreck.'
[Troy Jay]Child was accused of being behind the wheel of Jim Nelson’s 2003 Chevrolet pickup when it went off Highway 200 at a curve east of Winnett and then rolled. The force of the crash separated the cab and front fenders from the frame of the pickup. Investigators determined that the truck was traveling 20 mph over the posted speed limit and that all four people inside were intoxicated, according to documents filed by Petroleum County Attorney Monte Boettger. Three people were ejected from the truck and died at the scene. They were Donald Schmidt, 61, and his son Dean Schmidt, 35, of Mandan, N.D., and Nelson, 33, of Hungry Horse.
Phillips dismissed the case [ . . . ] after Child’s public defender, Douglas Day, filed a motion claiming Child’s right to a speedy trial had been violated."
Gee, talk about public officials not living up to the competence part of the deal.