COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LAFAYETTE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/16/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOHN ANDREW GREGORY. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: DENIED MOTION TO SET ASIDE WRIT OF PROCEDENDO.
FOR APPELLANT: DAVID LEE BREWER.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: STEPHANIE BRELAND WOOD.
BEFORE IRVING, P.J., CARLTON AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. BARNES AND MAXWELL, JJ., CONCUR IN PART AND IN THE RESULT. FAIR, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - MISDEMEANOR
[¶1] On August 31, 2002, the Lafayette County Justice Court convicted John Beasley of driving under the influence (DUI) and speeding. Beasley appealed to the Lafayette County Circuit Court and requested a trial de novo. His request was granted. However, the trial date was reset several times over a period of nearly ten years, without a trial ever occurring in the circuit court. On March 16, 2012, the circuit court entered a writ of procedendo and remanded the case to the justice court for enforcement of the justice court's judgment. Beasley filed a motion to set aside the writ, which the circuit court denied. Feeling aggrieved, Beasley appeals and argues that the court erred in issuing the writ of procedendo.
[¶2] Finding that the circuit court erred in issuing the writ, we reverse the circuit court's order denying Beasley's motion to set aside the writ and remand this case for further proceedings.
[¶3] Beasley was convicted in the justice court of DUI and speeding. After Beasley appealed to the circuit court, the circuit court set the case for trial on August 29, 2003. However, the case was not tried on that date and, thereafter, was continued multiple times, most of which were at the behest of the county prosecutor. On February 23, 2007, the circuit court issued a writ of procedendo, but later issued an order reinstating the appeal, finding that the issuance of the writ was error, and placing the case back on the circuit court's docket for trial on December 12, 2008.
[¶4] Beasley and his counsel failed to appear for trial on December 12, 2008, and the circuit court issued a second writ of procedendo. Beasely filed a motion to reinstate the appeal to the active docket, and the circuit court granted the motion reinstating the appeal, finding that the case was erroneously remanded to the justice court and that Beasley and his counsel's failure to appear on December 12, 2008, was through no fault of their own. Over the next three years, the trial was reset
three more times,  with the last trial setting being scheduled on January 9, 2012, for March 16, 2012. As will be discussed in more detail later in this opinion, Beasley failed to appear for trial on March ...