Suspect’s competency at question

District Judge Drew Tatum will issue a decision that will have ramifications for the mentally retarded Marcos Maestas, who was arrested in connection with an April 2010 robbery of a bank in Melrose.

Maestas' three accomplices who were arrested with him have pleaded guilty, and they are incarcerated.

Discussed during the Friday morning hearing was a motion, filed by the defense on Jan. 14, to dismiss the case for violation of Maestas' right to a speedy trial.

"We have a (mentally) retarded person in jail who still has not been brought to trial for a crime he was charged with three years ago," said Jennifer Burrill, Maestas' attorney. "This is a direct violation of his right to a speedy trial."

In the motion she cited numerous reasons for the delay of the trial, including transportation complications and the turnover in judges assigned to the case (four).

Burrill said if Tatum grants the motion the case will be dropped and Maestas will be released from jail. If not, Maestas' trial will be held June 18. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

Andrea Reeb, chief deputy district attorney, said the state's position is the trial has been delayed due to the defense's filing of multiple forensic evaluations, and not anything that the state has done.

"When someone commits a crime of this magnitude," said Reeb. "We're going to try them."

In an e-mail Reeb wrote, "The district Court found the defendant competent by stipulation of the parties … meaning ultimately the Defendant's attorney agreed legally he was competent."

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