Ark. R. Crim. P. 28.1
Reporter's Notes to 2009 Amendments: The 2009 amendments deleted references to the "circuit court" in subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this rule. The supreme court had previously held that the speedy trial requirements of the rule applied to a proceeding in municipal court, the predecessor of the district court. Stephens v. State, 295 Ark. 541, 750 S.W.2d 52 (1988); Whittle v. Washington County Circuit Court, 325 Ark. 136, 925 S.W.2d 383 (1996). Prior to the change, a defendant whose speedy trial motion was denied by the circuit court could seek interlocutory supreme court review of the decision by filing a writ of prohibition. See former Rule 28.1(d). Similarly, the defendant in district court could file a petition for writ of prohibition in the circuit court, and if the circuit court also denied the speedy trial motion, the defendant could seek supreme court review by writ of prohibition. Cf. Prine v. State, 370 Ark. 232, 258 S.W.3d 347 (2007); McFarland v. Lindsey, 338 Ark. 588, 2 S.W.3d 48 (1999). As a result of such interlocutory review, a rule designed to encourage prompt disposition of criminal cases often resulted in lengthy delays in the trial of such cases. The 2009 amendments substantially limit the defendant's right to seek interlocutory review of an adverse ruling on a speedy trial motion. Subsection (e) makes it clear that there is no right to interlocutory review of a district court's denial of a speedy trial motion. Under revised subsection (d), a circuit court's denial of a speedy trial motion is not reviewable prior to trial except by writ of certiorari.
It is anticipated that a writ of certiorari will be issued to a circuit court only in extraordinary cases where the record clearly demonstrates that the circuit court has grossly abused its discretion by denying the defendant's speedy trial motion. The standards for determining the propriety of a writ of certiorari are set out in numerous recent supreme court opinions:
1. A writ of certiorari is extraordinary relief.
2. The appellate court will not look beyond the face of the record to ascertain the actual merits of a controversy, or to control discretion, or to review a finding of fact, or to reverse a trial court's discretionary authority.
3. A writ of certiorari lies only where it is apparent on the face of the record that there has been a plain, manifest, clear, and gross abuse of discretion, or that there is a lack of jurisdiction, an act in excess of jurisdiction on the face of the record, or the proceedings are erroneous on the face of the record.
4. Certiorari is available in the exercise of the supreme court's review of a tribunal that is proceeding illegally where no other mode of review has been provided.
5. There can be no other adequate remedy but for the writ of certiorari. See Evans v. Blankenship, 374 Ark. 104, 286 S.W.3d 137 (2008); Helena-West Helena Sch. Dist. #2 of Phillips County v. Phillips County Circuit Court, 368 Ark. 549, 247 S.W.3d 823 (2007); Ark. Game & Fish Comm'n v. Herndon, 365 Ark. 180, 226 S.W.3d 776 (2006); Ark. Dep't of Human Servs. v. Collier, 351 Ark. 506, 95 S.W.3d 772 (2003) (writ of certiorari granted when trial court made a decision that was contrary to the plain language of a statute); Cooper Communities, Inc. v. Benton County Circuit Court, 336 Ark. 136, 984 S.W.2d 429 (1999); Oliver v. Pulaski County Circuit Court, 340 Ark. 681, 13 S.W.3d 156 (2000).
Prior to the 2009 amendments, a guilty plea waived the defendant's right to raise an alleged denial of speedy trial. Revised subsection(g)(1) makes it clear that a defendant whose speedy trial motion is denied by the district court may thereafter plead guilty in the district court, file an appeal with the circuit court, and renew the speedy trial motion in the circuit court. A similar procedure does not apply in circuit court, but revised subsection(g)(2) does permit the defendant whose speedy trial motion is denied by the circuit court to enter a conditional plea of guilty and still appeal the speedy trial issue to an appellate court provided the requirements of Rule 24.3(b) are otherwise satisfied.