In the recent case of State of Iowa vs. Mitchell Khan, the Iowa Court of Appeals engaged in a very helpful nuanced analysis of the speedy indictment rules. The Court agreed that the State had violated Khan’s right to a speedy indictment, and his motion to dismiss pursuant to Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.33(2)(a) should have been granted. That rule requires the State to file a trial information within 45 days of the date of a defendant’s arrest. The issue was when the 45 days started. Khan was pulled over on November 22, 2019, handcuffed, transported to jail, told he was under arrest, accused in a complaint and affidavit of OWI, and then released after posting bond.
Khan argued that the 45 days began when he was taken into custody and arrested. The State argued it did not begin to run until his initial appearance before a magistrate, or the date he waived that appearance. The Iowa Court of Appeals agreed with Khan.
In State v. Williams, 895 N.W. 2d 856 (Iowa 2017), the Iowa Supreme Court provided guidance on two questions: (1) In what cases does the speedy indictment rule apply? and (2) If the rule applies, when does its 45-day period begin?
When the first question is in dispute, Williams requires courts to consider whether a defendant was brought before a magistrate or waived the appearance. Yet, there was no dispute that the rule applied in this case. Hence, the only remaining question was from what event did the 45 days run.
The time for bringing the indictment runs from the initial arrest. The rule commences upon arrest and is triggered from the time a person is taken into custody. A brief investigative detention or similar seizure is not sufficient alone. The arrest requires the person be taken into custody in the manner authorized by law. Therefore, the arrest must meet the requirements of Iowa Code sections 804.5 and 804.14(1). Those provisions require the person making the arrest to inform the person being arrested of the intention to arrest, the reason for the arrest, the identity of the person making the arrest as a peace officer, and the requirement of the person to submit to custody.
Applying those standards, Khan was arrested on November 22, and the 45-day period began on that date.