State v. Kpaeyeh, 246 N.C. App. 694 (Apr. 5, 2016)

In this child sexual abuse case, the defendant was not denied his right to a speedy trial. The more than three-year delay between indictment and trial is sufficiently long to trigger analysis of the remaining speedy trial factors. Considering those factors, the court found that the evidence “tends to show that the changes in the defendant’s representation caused much of the delay” and that miscommunication between the defendant and his first two lawyers, or neglect by these lawyers, also “seems to have contributed to the delay.” Also, although the defendant made pro se assertions of a speedy trial right, he was represented at the time and these requests should have been made by counsel. The court noted, however, that the defendant’s “failure of process does not equate to an absence of an intent to assert his constitutional right to a speedy trial.” Finally, the defendant failed to show prejudice caused by the delay. Given that DNA testing confirmed that he was the father of a child born to the victim, the defendant’s argument that the delay hindered his ability to locate alibi witnesses failed to establish prejudice.