View Full Version : How long can they keep you in County Jail


PBslilsister
03-27-2008, 12:11 AM
Hi,
Does anyone know how long they can prolong a case. My brother has been in jail since November 2006 awaiting his trial. They just keep putting it off over and over. He's on to the third Public Defender now. This is actually a good thing as we didn't have much confidence in the last attorney. But how long can they hold him there without a trial. LA is a nasty place to be in jail!! I think prison must have better conditions.
Thank you!

funnyface09
03-27-2008, 01:30 PM
Was he not given Bail? I dont' have an exact answer for you, but a friend of mine was held in County for 5 yrs awaiting trial before being sent to a prison.
Why does it keep getting postponed? Is he is a hurry to get to trial?
I will see what I can find or maybe one of our informative members can give you a better answer.

YourFriendlyDA
03-27-2008, 05:21 PM
If the delay is on the part of the defense it can go on for a very long time...

Gryphon
03-27-2008, 05:49 PM
I goes on until the defense withdraws an earlier entered time waiver (demanding speedy trial); or until the prosecution asks to have a trial date set; or until teh Judge sets a trial date on it's own motion.
Even then, trial dates can't be in stone and continuances for good cause have to be granted. "Good cause" means that the defendant gets a right to a fair trial, and that right even trumps the Defendant's own insisting on "speedy trial" and objecting to the continuance! (That's why a defense lawyer can sometimes get a case continued over the defendant's objection.)
3 yrs. is indeed very unusual. A death penalty case, perhaps? For those, more then a year is almost a certainty given all the work that has to be done to prepare a penalty phase (let alone any guilt phase work that has to be done). When a complex case loses the lawyer for some reason, tha tcan reset teh clock as the next lawyer comes up to speed. Serious cases tend to have experienced lawyers. Experienced lawyers tend to be older. Illness, death, retirement, going into administration instead of trial work, and job relocations tend to happen more often in that experience/age group.

PBslilsister
03-27-2008, 11:12 PM
Thank you Gryphon. The case is 1st degree murder not a death penalty.
Hi funny face, the bail is over a million. Too much for anyone in our family to come up with. He is in the Twin Towers in LA. He would much rather be in prison. LA is a nasty place to be in jail. I hear it's the largest jail in the country. Fortunately he is on the psych ward of Twin Towers so it's a little tiny bit better but awful just the same.

funnyface09
03-27-2008, 11:37 PM
Wow, sorry to hear that lil sister. I hope they do something soon so he can get on with his sentence and out of the unknown....

preciousgem
03-28-2008, 12:52 AM
I know in the case of my boyfriend he was in county for four years awaiting his trial with an additional year for the trial, but I don't know exactly how long they have before they have to try a person. I'm sorry to hear it, hopefully all will work out soon enough.

Gryphon
03-28-2008, 11:57 AM
Mental illness and being charged with a serious crime can really drag things out.
Has there been any mention of problems with trial competency? (PC section 1368). If he's been in and out of competency (where at times he can't be a defendant because he can't assist in his defense or he doesn't know what's going on) that would explain the delay.

If the case outcome appears to be a likely 1st degree murder conviction, teh defense will do everything possible to delay (hoping for some sort of better offer). A 1st degree murder convicion means never getting out of prison (despite a theoretical release after 85% of 25 years). No one has been paroled on a 1st degree murder in generations.
A second degree murder isn't much better. A few people get paroled, but it is a very rare thing.
Therefore, the defense attorneys are likely pleased that he's somewhere that, over time, might possibly yield evidence of a mental health defense.

As far as prison being better than his present housing, it depends. Mentally ill inmates with murder convictions can end up at Pelican Bay because they have a tough time conforming to rules. That's a tough place to be.

Thank you Gryphon. The case is 1st degree murder not a death penalty.
Hi funny face, the bail is over a million. Too much for anyone in our family to come up with. He is in the Twin Towers in LA. He would much rather be in prison. LA is a nasty place to be in jail. I hear it's the largest jail in the country. Fortunately he is on the psych ward of Twin Towers so it's a little tiny bit better but awful just the same.

snobsktblsr
03-28-2008, 01:26 PM
does the time inmates spend in country waiting for their trial count towards the time they are sentenced?

Gryphon
03-28-2008, 01:55 PM
does the time inmates spend in country waiting for their trial count towards the time they are sentenced?
Yes, but conduct credits while doing county time can be less than what would be earned if the inmate was already in prison (depending on the charge. For instance, CA county time credits are 33% on a non-violent felony; while conduct credits can be as great as 65% if an inmate goes to fire camp and is otherwise eligible to recieve 50% credits.
Also, in CA there is a general prohibition against dual use of credits. That means that if someone is in jail on multiple cases, credits might be going to one case but not another. If teh inmate were sentenced and serving time, that time wouldn't go towards an unresolved case.

PBslilsister
03-28-2008, 04:58 PM
Well, the previous lawyers have been completely unwilling to use any type of mental health defense. They say he is too competent when he is interviewed. This new one basically says she is going to attempt to get him into a state hospital rather than a regular prison. He complies with all the rules and is so respectful and well behaved they don't keep him with other murderers. So hopefully that means no Pelican Bay. Maybe Ioane?? I don't know.... I guess we'll just have to wait and see. He is bi-polar and most of the time seems like a nice normal human being. But when he goes into a manic episode he is someone else. His situation is so tragic. He was in a manic episode and went to a county facility for psych emergencies and begged to be hospitalized. They refused and gave him more drugs. He took almost the whole bottle (suicidal I think) blacked out and killed his closest friend. It's a total tragedy of extreme proportions and the DA just seems to think he planned the whole thing. Craziness.... Total craziness..... I've really had to try to detach myself emotionally there isn't much I can really do to help at this point. He also has extreme post traumatic stress from years of being abused as a child and I just pray he doesn't spend his entire old age being abused by other prisoners and guards. He's 50 years old now.

Gryphon
03-31-2008, 03:46 PM
Trial competency can come and go, and it doesn't take much to be competent. Understanding the players in court and the basic idea of the charges and possible defenses will usually be enough. Not trusting your lawyer because they are Satan, or going to trial because voices from within advise that it is a divine mandate to do so; or pleading guilty becuase it's part of your secret government mission: this is the stuff of trial incompetency.

The lawyer is trying 1 of 2 things.
Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity is tough to prove, but results in hospitalization rather than prison. The legal standard in CA is that he didn't understand teh nature of his actions or he couldn't tell teh difference between right and wrong.
Short of NGI, a formal sentencing report can be "seeded" with enough mental health information that an inmate can be hospitalized and stabilized before they get "mainlined". Many of those hospitalizations happen at Patton State Hospital or Vacaville State Prison, but there are other possible placements. These sort of hospitalizations aren't typically long term, and seldom exceded 6 mos.

Well, the previous lawyers have been completely unwilling to use any type of mental health defense. They say he is too competent when he is interviewed. This new one basically says she is going to attempt to get him into a state hospital rather than a regular prison. He complies with all the rules and is so respectful and well behaved they don't keep him with other murderers. So hopefully that means no Pelican Bay. Maybe Ioane?? I don't know.... I guess we'll just have to wait and see. He is bi-polar and most of the time seems like a nice normal human being. But when he goes into a manic episode he is someone else. His situation is so tragic. He was in a manic episode and went to a county facility for psych emergencies and begged to be hospitalized. They refused and gave him more drugs. He took almost the whole bottle (suicidal I think) blacked out and killed his closest friend. It's a total tragedy of extreme proportions and the DA just seems to think he planned the whole thing. Craziness.... Total craziness..... I've really had to try to detach myself emotionally there isn't much I can really do to help at this point. He also has extreme post traumatic stress from years of being abused as a child and I just pray he doesn't spend his entire old age being abused by other prisoners and guards. He's 50 years old now.