Denial of Committing Crime on Date Alleged Is Insufficient to Warrant Dismissal of Delayed Indictment

An Ohio Court of Appeals has reinstated a drug trafficking indictment that the trial court had dismissed based upon alleged prejudice from a pre-indictment delay.

The case is State v. Brock, 2012-Ohio-6055.

On October 10, 2011, the defendant was indicted on one count of trafficking in drugs, in connection to an illegal drug transaction occurring on or about November 14, 2006.  The Defendant filed a motion to dismiss due to alleged prejudice from the pre-indictment delay.

The Defendant, at a hearing, conceded to selling marijuana on prior occasions, but “denied specific recollection of selling marijuana from his parents’ home on the date enumerated in the indictment.”  The trial court concluded that the state had failed to establish a justifiable reason for the delay in indictment and dismissed the case.

The law in this case is if a defendant is able to show actual, substantial prejudice caused by the pre-indictment delay, the state is must demonstrate a justifiable reason for a pre-indictment delay.

The appeals court reversed.  The court said that the defendant’s “mere subjective denial of any recollection of selling drugs from his parents’ home on the date enumerated in the indictment does not constitute valuable exculpatory evidence so as to satisfy the requisite showing of actual prejudice.”  The court added that the defendant “did not deny past involvement in illegal drug transactions, but simply failed to recall engaging in such activity on the date and at the location delineated in the indictment.”

As a result, the appeals court determined that the defendant had failed to demonstrate actual prejudice.


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