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State v. Tejeda

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

December 11, 2019

STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellant,
v.
JORGE TEJEDA, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Edward Harold Merrigan, Jr., Judge; L.T. Case No. 14-008008CF10A.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Marc B. Hernandez, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Timothy Wang, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          May, J.

         The State appeals an order discharging the defendant on speedy trial grounds. It argues the trial court erred in granting the motion to discharge the defendant. We agree and reverse.

         In July 2013, the police responded to a disturbance complaint, which resulted in the defendant's arrest for felony battery. The State charged him however with misdemeanor battery on August 19, 2013. The defendant moved for continuances in the misdemeanor case on October 2013, December 2013, March 2014, and April 2014, thereby waiving his speedy trial right.

         In June 2014, the State filed a new information charging the defendant with felony battery for the July 2013 incident. After the State filed the felony charge, the clerk of court mailed a notice of arraignment to the address the defendant provided; the notice was returned to the sender. In 2016, the State nolle prossed the misdemeanor case.

         When the defendant failed to appear for his arraignment, the trial court issued a capias. In doing so, the court stated that it was the defendant's obligation to make sure the correct address is on file or alternatively update it when he posted bond. The court later withdrew the capias. The defendant filed a notice of change of address. The defendant then moved for, and the trial court granted, continuances in the felony case in March 2017, February 2018, and April 2018.

         In 2018, the defendant moved for discharge of the felony charge; he subsequently amended his motion. At the hearing on the amended motion, the defendant argued he was entitled to discharge because: (1) the State failed to bring him to trial within 175 days of his arrest; and (2) he did not have notice of the felony case until after the speedy trial period expired. The State responded that the defendant's continuances in the misdemeanor case resulted in an ongoing waiver of speedy trial in the felony case. Nevertheless, the trial court granted the motion to discharge without explanation.

         The State now appeals.

         The State argues the trial court erred in granting the amended motion for discharge because the defendant waived his right to speedy trial and never made a demand for speedy trial. The defendant responds that the State failed to preserve the issue and the court properly granted the motion based on a violation of his constitutional right to speedy trial.

         We have de novo review of this legal issue. State v. Nelson, 26 So.3d 570, 573-74 (Fla. 2010).

         "To properly preserve an issue for appellate review requires three components, '[f]irst, a litigant must make a timely, contemporaneous objection. Second, the party must state a legal ground for that objection. Third, '[i]n order for an argument to be cognizable on appeal, it must be the specific contention asserted as legal ground for the objection, exception, or ...


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