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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 4.115. Criminal case assignment

(a) Master calendar departments

To ensure that the court's policy on continuances is firm and uniformly applied, that pretrial proceedings and trial assignments are handled consistently, and that cases are tried on a date certain, each court not operating on a direct calendaring system must assign all criminal matters to one or more master calendar departments. The presiding judge of a master calendar department must conduct or supervise the conduct of all arraignments and pretrial hearings and conferences and assign to a trial department any case requiring a trial or dispositional hearing.

(Subd (a) lettered effective January 1, 2008; adopted as unlettered subd effective January 1, 1985.)

(b) Trial calendaring and continuances

Any request for a continuance, including a request to trail the trial date, must comply with rule 4.113 and the requirement in section 1050 to show good cause to continue a hearing in a criminal proceeding. Active management of trial calendars is necessary to minimize the number of statutory dismissals. Accordingly, courts should avoid calendaring or trailing criminal cases for trial to the last day permitted for trial under section 1382. Courts must implement calendar management procedures, in accordance with local conditions and needs, to ensure that criminal cases are assigned to trial departments before the last day permitted for trial under section 1382.

(Subd (b) adopted effective January 1, 2008.)

Rule 4.115 amended effective January 1, 2008; adopted as section 10 of the Standards of Judicial Administration effective January 1, 1985; amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2001; previously amended effective January 1, 2007.

Advisory Committee Comment

Subdivision (b) clarifies that the "good cause" showing for a continuance under section 1050 applies in all criminal cases, whether or not the case is in the 10-day grace period provided for in section 1382. The Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee and Criminal Law Advisory Committee observe that the "good cause" requirement for a continuance is separate and distinct from the "good cause" requirement to avoid dismissals under section 1382. There is case law stating that the prosecution is not required to show good cause to avoid a dismissal under section 1382 during the 10-day grace period because a case may not be dismissed for delay during that 10-day period. (See, e.g., Bryant v. Superior Court (1986) 186 Cal.App.3d 483, 488.) Yet, both the plain language of section 1050 and case law show that there must be good cause for a continuance under section 1050 during the 10-day grace period. (See, e.g., section 1050 and People v. Henderson (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 922, 939-940.) Thus, a court may not dismiss a case during the 10-day grace period under section 1382, but the committees believe that the court must deny a request for a continuance during the 10-day grace period that does not comply with the good cause requirement under section 1050.

The decision in Henderson states that when the prosecutor seeks a continuance but fails to show good cause under section 1050, the trial court "must nevertheless postpone the hearing to another date within the statutory period." (115 Cal.App.4th at p. 940.) That conclusion, however, may be contrary to the plain language of section 1050, which requires a court to deny a continuance if the moving party fails to show good cause. The conclusion also appears to be dicta, as it was not a contested issue on appeal. Given this uncertainty, the rule is silent as to the remedy for failure to show good cause for a requested continuance during the 10-day grace period. The committees note that the remedies under section 1050.5 are available and, but for the Henderson dicta, a court would appear to be allowed to deny the continuance request and commence the trial on the scheduled trial date.

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