Superior Court Judge Robert Swisher is a meticulous man in the courtroom. Judge Swisher sets the standard for the right to a speedy trial.
That’s why his honor looked visibly ticked when, two months after he ordered a psychiatric exam for Gregorio Luna Luna, the defense attorneys said doctors at Eastern State Hospital hadn’t yet completed their evaluation, and the doctors’ final report wouldn’t be ready for, well, until it’s ready.
“This is unacceptable,” the judge said in a loud and clear voice. “This charge is well over a year old now. ”
Pasco police arrested Luna Luna in May of last year for stabbing Griselda Ocampo Meza. She and Luna Luna had a five-year-old son together. Prosecutors say the Immigration and Naturalization Service had deported Luna Luna to Mexico prior to his arrest in the Tri-Cities.
In county jail, according to prosecutors, corrections officers have confiscated from Luna Luna objects that could be used as weapons (shards of a mirror) and officers say they found evidence of a tunnel they say Luna Luna was digging for an escape attempt.
Back in April, doctors at Eastern didn’t want Luna Luna moved to the hospital outside of Spokane, but rather examined in jail. They said they were worried about their safety and others at the hospital.
In expressing his frustration with a possible delay in the trial, Judge Swisher reminded the defense attorney that it was she who said back in April, “The longer he stays in jail, the worse he gets.”
“This has got to be a priority,” Swisher told defense attorneys and the deputy prosecutor. “This is just not acceptable that this lingers and lingers.”
Judge Swisher ordered attorneys to return to court in three weeks with word on when he can expect the doctors’ report on his desk, so the trial can moved forward.
Both the deputy prosecutor and the defense attorneys got the message loud and clear.