Judge Refuses Counsel’s Proposed Trial Dates Citing Defendant’s Speedy Trial Rights

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Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn continued a scheduled hearing for a man charged with attempted murder on Jan. 24, hoping that counsels can agree on an earlier trial date.

The stand-in for the assigned prosecutor informed the court that both parties were available to try this case in September. Judge Phinn did not accept this, citing the defendant’s right to a speedy trial.

The defendant’s Hick’s date, which is his right to be tried within 180 days of his or his attorney’s first court appearance, is Feb. 6. The defendant did not waive his Hick’s right during the hearing.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the prosecutor offered 25-year-old Johnson a plea offer of life, suspending all but 40 years with five years of supervised probation for attempted first-degree murder; a consecutive charge of 20 years, the first five years without the possibility of parole for firearm use in a felony violent crime; and a consecutive sentence of 15 years, the first five years without the possibility of parole for possessing a firearm with a felony conviction. He would also be required to stay away from the victim and register as a gun offender.

Johnson rejected the plea offer. Judge Phinn continued the hearing until Jan. 25 at which time they will schedule a trial date.

Defendant Dionte Johnson is charged with attempted first and second-degree murder, first and second-degree assault, firearm use in a felony violent crime, reckless endangerment, firearm possession with a felony conviction, possession of a firearm with a drug conviction, having a handgun on his person, and discharging firearms in connection to an incident that occurred on March 27, 2022.

According to a press release from the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), Johnson was arrested on July 1, 2022 and charged with shooting a 40-year-old man in the neck on the 2300 block of East Biddle Street following an argument.

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