Lacayo v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
On February 24, 2020, Lacayo was arraigned for possession of a firearm by a felon and related felonies. He waived his right under Penal Code 859b to a preliminary hearing within 10 court days but did not waive his right to a preliminary hearing within 60 days. On April 24, after the Governor proclaimed a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parties appeared and announced they were ready to proceed. The court acknowledged it was “the 60th day” but continued the preliminary hearing to April 28, citing the pandemic and the lack of prejudice to Lacayo, who was out of custody. Defense counsel objected but the court cited “exceptional, extraordinary circumstances.” At the April 28 hearing, Lacayo unsuccessfully moved for dismissal. The information was filed on May 5. On June 18, Lacayo moved to set aside the information based on the 60-day rule violation. The People requested dismissal without prejudice and a good cause finding for purposes of section 1387(c)(1), which provides that dismissal does not bar re-filing if “good cause is shown why the preliminary examination was not held within 60 days.” On August 5, the court denied Lacayo’s motion, adding specific facts to establish good cause.
Lacayo filed a petition for a peremptory writ. The court of appeal granted relief. There is no good-cause exception to the 60-day rule; the pandemic emergency orders did not extend the rule. The court should not have continued the preliminary hearing beyond April 24 without Lacayo's personal waiver.