Lack Of Speedy Trial Results In Dismissal Of Assault Case

Lack Of Speedy Trial Results In Dismissal Of Assault Case

The Capital - 10/30/1997 - Mary Allen, Staff Writer

Charges against three members of a Chesapeake Beach family won't be prosecuted because their rights to a speedy trial were violated, a county Circuit Court judge ruled yesterday.

Judge Clayton Greene Jr. upheld an earlier District Court ruling throwing out assault and battery charges against Linda and Murphy Smilardo of Chesapeake Beach, and Billy Smilardo, who now lives in Colorado.

The trio was involved in a bar fight July 28, 1996, at Skipper's Pier and Restaurant in Deale. A lawyer for the Smilardos said the fight involved James K. Adkins and Charlotte G. Adkins of 637 Plantation Blvd., West River.

Federal law dictates the speedy trial rule in District Courts. There is no set limit of days in which to address a case, unlike the state 180-day rule used in Circuit Court, said James N. Papirmester of the Smilardos' lawyer.

He argued during a hearing in Annapolis yesterday that there were multiple and lengthy delays - at the state's request - which hurt his clients, who had reported for court and were ready for trial.

Assistant State's Attorney Danielle Mosley, who has handled the case from the beginning, said the prosecution was responsible for only about six months of valid delays.

Here's how the case unfolded:

  • July 28, 1996 - The altercation occurs. County police respond but make no arrests.
  • July 29, 1996 - The Smilardos file charges against the Adkins in District Court.
  • Aug. 2, 1996 - The Smilardos learn the Adkins had filed charges against them.
  • Dec. 2, 1996 - The Smilardos' first court date is postponed after a state request to consolidate the cases.
  • March 28, 1997 - The Adkins are acquitted. The Smilardos' cases aren't heard when the court runs out of time.
  • May 27 - The state requests a postponement because of a death in the Adkins family.
  • June 5 - District Court Judge Robert C. Wilcox grants the Smilardos' motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial.
  • July 16 - Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis upholds that dismissal.
  • October 29 - Judge Greene uphold her decision, after Ms. Mosley appealed.

Kristin Riggin, spokesman for the State's Attorney's Office, said prosecutors would be studying the case to see if it qualifies for a higher appeal.

The Adkins and Smilardos declined comment, citing the pending lawsuit.

The West River couple is seeking $1.25 million on each of eight counts against the Smilardos.