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The case of State v. Saunders, heard by the Washington Court of Appeals, revolved around Christopher Saunders’s conviction for failing to register as a sex offender. Saunders appealed the conviction, primarily arguing that his speedy trial rights were violated. The court, agreeing with Saunders, reversed the trial court’s decision and remanded for dismissal of the charges under CrR 3.3(h).

Facts and Procedural History

Saunders, a sex offender, was charged with failing to update his registration. His trial faced multiple continuances, all of which Saunders objected to and refused to sign for. His trial was initially set for November 6, 2007, but was pushed to December 5, then to January 8, 2008, and further to February 20. Each time, Saunders expressed his disagreement with the delays.

Legal Analysis

The Court of Appeals focused on whether Saunders’s speedy trial rights, under CrR 3.3, were violated. The court noted that Saunders consistently opposed delays and that the reasons provided for continuances were either insufficient or not supported by the record. The appellate court criticized the trial court’s discretion in granting these continuances without convincing and valid reasons.

Court’s Decision

The appellate court found that the trial court violated Saunders’s speedy trial rights under CrR 3.3. It did not address other issues raised by Saunders, such as ineffective assistance of counsel or the constitutionality of his sentence. The court ordered the charges against Saunders to be dismissed, emphasizing the importance of adhering to speedy trial requirements and the defendant’s right to a timely trial.


This case highlights the critical role of the speedy trial right in the criminal justice system and the need for courts to provide valid justifications for any delay in proceedings. The dismissal of Saunders’s charges serves as a reminder of the judiciary’s responsibility to ensure that defendants are tried within the time limits prescribed by law.

This analysis covers the key aspects and implications of the case of State v. Saunders, focusing on the procedural history, the court’s legal reasoning, and the ultimate decision to dismiss the charges against Saunders due to violations of his speedy trial rights.

State v. Saunders Washington Court of Appeals Speedy Trial Rights

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