One of my favorite cable shows is “Locked Up Abroad.” The show details people, usually Westerners, traveling through third world countries, generally doing something stupid like trying to sneak drugs through airport security. Instead of making the quick financial score, the poor sap gets caught and finds himself in a judicial system unlike at home, a system with little in the way of due process we westerners take for granted. Often the person finds that they can sit in a jail cell for months, even years, before being tried. And when they are tried, they will find the American presumption of innocence for the accused to be nowhere in the courtroom.
Fortunately the American political system is different from those third world countries. We don’t lock up people for years without bringing them to trial on charges. Among an assortment of legal protections, Americans have a constitutional right to a “speedy trial” when they are charged with a crime. No one charged with a crime in the American judicial system faces what those travelers in Locked Up Abroad have to face.
Or do they?
Meet Timothy Treacy
. Tim is a bright, young man in his early 30’s. Tim worked
with an Indianapolis Police Department officer who moonlighted repossessing cars and would do informing work for the police. Tim also
dated an IPD
officer’s daughter. Tim's relationship broke up and he decided he wanted no part of being an informant. While it's not clear exactly which of those things led to it, clearly Tim had a serious falling out with his former IPD
buddies. Before long, in November of 2005, Tim found himself arrested by IPD
for DUI. He pled
guilty thinking he would just get a slap on the wrist and probation. That’s what happened. On March 23, 2006, Tim was sentenced to time served and given 353 days of probation. See docket for 49F18-0511-CM-194610.
But that was only the beginning of Tim's troubles. He had become a target. It seemed like every time out the door, Tim was a target of the IPD
. He ended up charged for DUI four more times, all of which are still pending. Having seen the files, it appears that in most of the cases, the charges are simply based on the officer’s statement regarding Tim's appearance of intoxication and erratic driving, with a noted lack of chemical evidence supporting the charges. Some strangely suggest that he was driving while intoxicated with a passenger under 18, an apparent effort to enhance the charges. The police reports don't show that Tim had a passenger under 18 during any of the stops.
The cases have the four cause numbers listed below:
The dockets on the cases can be found here.Indiana Criminal Rule 4 has three parts.
First, if a defendant is in jail and moves for a speedy trial, he has to be tried within 70 days. If he is in jail and does no
t move for a speedy trial, he has to be tried within 6 months. If he is not in jail, he has to be tried within a year.
Early on Tim moved for a 70 day speedy trial motion on three of the four charges. (He would have filed on the fourth but his speedy trial motion on the other charges kept getting ignored so he eventually gave up). All four of the cases would easily qualify for dismissal under the 70 day/6 month/and one year rules. Yet some 36 pre
-trials later on the pending cases, Timothy Treacy
remains in jail.There is an exception to the Criminal Rule 4
. If the continuance of a trial date is because of a delay requested by the defendant, rather than the prosecutor or the judge, the time does not
count toward the time periods in C.R. 4. Still, in order for at least three of the pending DUIs
to continue to pend, all but 70 days would have to be chargeable to Tim. On the other charge, all but 6 months of the approximate 2 years delay would have to be chargeable to the defendant. Neither option is likely. Still though the fact he has these four pending DUI charges apparently act to toll the running of his probation on his only conviction. Although he was released briefly, he ended up reincarcerated
for a probation violation when he allegedly failed a drug test, a claim that he disputes with documentation from a private lab that had shown him clean. (He had taken the initiative to get the private drug test because he didn't trust the agency doing the probation drug tests.)
Last year, Tim filed a motion with the court asking for a dismissal of the pending DUIs pursuant to Criminal Rule 4
. The court denied the Motion to Dismiss, within minutes, not even bothering to hold a hearing.
Recently Tim again moved that his pending DUI charges be dismissed because of C.R. 4. The prosecutor’s office objected saying that Tim needed to prove the delays were chargeable to the state and not to the defendant. It appears from the docket that virtually every entry regarding a delay in his trial were simply labeled as the defendant asking for a continuance, entries Tim
hotly disputes are accurate. Having personally witnesses a few of these preTim
asked that he be provided the transcripts of all the pre
-trials where they discussed continuing the trial date. Even though Tim had previously been declared to be indigent and entitled to a public defender, the prosecutor’s office objected, saying he should have to pay for all the transcripts. Given there have been 35 pre
-trials, the cost to Tim for those transcripts would be a small fortune.
But you do not have to spend hours and hours reviewing the transcripts. Under Marion County Criminal Rule Local 20-109
, all continuances in criminal court filed by the defendant would have to be verified and in writing. There are no written continuances in any of Tim's court files. Yet this fact, and the implications of C.R. 4, is ignored while Tim
sits in jail.
Why the prosecutor’s office would be involved in making it more difficult for an indigent defendant to obtain transcripts that might free him, and perhaps expose wrongdoing of the prosecutor’s office and the police department, raises eyebrows. So too does other prosecutorial
misconduct in the case, including filing motions against Tim when he was pro se
and intentionally not serving him with the documents so he couldn't see them before they were heard in court.
The prosecutor’s office has to know by now that a conviction of Tim for any of the old DUI cases could never withstand a C.R. 4 challenge on appeal, yet prosecutors continue to fight to keep Tim incarcerated pending trial anyway. To me, the fact that a court is, for whatever reason, permitting the charges to continue, does not discharge the ethical obligation of prosecutors to dismiss charges pending against someone when the law clearly dictates that they be dropped. My guess is that there is considerable fear that once the charges are dropped, Tim
will pursue them in the civil court for what they have done to him as well as file ethics charges against the parties involved.
Admittedly, Tim and his family are prone to believe in some rather bizarre conspiracy theories and are inclined to pursue unique legal arguments, perhaps out of frustration with the judicial system. Doing so though often ends up angering the legal establishment as well as frustrating the efforts of those who want to help the young man.
is stubborn in his principles and is not about to let his continued incarceration cause him to cave in to his IPD
accusers as well as the prosecutor's office zealous efforts to keep him incarcerated while never actually going to trial. At some point though justice needs to prevail and the charges against this man, need to be dropped. Justice should not only include dismissal of those DUI charges but an investigation by federal and/or state authorities (including the Indiana Supreme Court) of how this young man experienced a third world judicial system while Locked Up in Indianapolis.