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News & Press: Montana Supreme Court

Supreme Court overturns drug conviction over unnecessary delay

Wednesday, April 11, 2018  
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The Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a Miles City man’s guilty verdict for drug possession due to an unnecessary delay in his arraignment.

Philip Gribble was arrested on Dec. 21, 2015, after officers found marijuana, methamphetamine and other illegal substances in his car. Gribble was assigned counsel on Jan. 6, 2016, and arraigned nine days later. The state argued that the delay was due to the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays and because a homicide that month consumed most of the Custer County Attorney’s resources.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled that those factors did not justify holding Gribble “incommunicado, unrepresented, and without the proceedings required by law,” and that the District Court erred when it ruled that Gribble needed to show actual prejudice to satisfy the unnecessary delay standard.

Read the opinion