Judges Opinions, — June 11, 2024 15:42 — 0 Comments

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Luis Padin-Pizarro

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Luis Padin-Pizarro

Criminal Action-Constitutional Law-Pa.R.Crim.P. Rule 600-Right to a Speedy Trial-Nominal Bail-Delay Caused by Defendant-Unavailable for Trial-Dangerousness of Defendant-Factors-Manufacturing of Substance-Fentanyl

Luis Padin-Pizarro (“Defendant”), who was incarcerated for more than 180 days on charges relating to manufacturing of a substance containing fentanyl, filed a Motion for release under Pa.R.Crim.P. Rule 600 based upon the Commonwealth’s failure to bring him to trial within the required 180 days.  The Commonwealth counters that the time following Defendant’s Motion for Nominal Bail should be counted against him to extend the 180 day deadline and dangerousness of Defendant precludes release under Rule 600. 

1.  Rule 600 contains provisions requiring dismissal of charges if a case is not brought to trial with 365 days and a defendant’s release on nominal bail if the defendant is not brought to trial within 180 days.

2.  Rule 600 contains exclusions of time for delay caused by a defendant, such as a continuance request or a pretrial motion.

3.  The mere filing of a pretrial motion by a defendant does not automatically render him or her unavailable for trial.

4.  A defendant is unavailable for trial only if a delay in the commencement of trial is caused by the filing of a pretrial motion.

5.  A motion for nominal bail is not the type of motion that extends the 180 deadline required by Rule 600. 

6.  A certain classification of defendant is too dangerous to be released on nominal bail even when 180 days have passed since arrest.

7.  A request for nominal bail may be denied if the Commonwealth shows that it is substantially more likely than not that the defendant will harm someone if released and there is no condition of bail within the court’s power that reasonably can prevent the defendant from inflicting that harm. 

8.  When assessing dangerousness, the court should consider factors including a defendant’s character and prior criminal record, patterns of past conduct, gravity of charges, conditions of bail reasonably available and any evidence that bail conditions would be inadequate to protect the community.

9.  The threat of continued manufacturing and distributing of substances containing fentanyl constitutes a danger to the community.

10.  The facts set forth in the Criminal Information including the large scale of Defendant’s substance manufacturing operation and the fact that a stolen firearm with additional magazines and ammunition was located at the manufacturing site suggest that Defendant poses a significant danger to the community.

11.  In light of the fact that the record is silent as to the additional factors the Court is to consider in ruling upon a motion for nominal bail, a hearing is necessary to address the additional factors with Defendant not being entitled to lower bail pending that hearing based upon the allegations in the Criminal Information including the fact that the substance manufactured contained fentanyl.

L.C.C.C.P. No. CP-38-CR-0001077-2022, Opinion by Bradford H. Charles, Judge, April 25, 2023.     

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