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Morris brothers aggravated assault case timeline could extend into 2016

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Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris and his twin brother, Pistons forward Marcus Morris, are due back in Maricopa County Superior Court today at 8:30am for another appearance related to the aggravated assault charges filed against them by the Maricopa County attorney.


Each has been charged with two matching counts of Aggravated Assault. If convicted as charged, each would have to spend some serious time in jail. The presumptive sentence for the F4 charge is more than two years of incarceration. The aggravated sentence is more than three years. Eventually, we can expect a plea agreement but it appears that the Morris brothers feel they can get the charges dropped completely if they continue to fight.

You might recognize the attitude of Marcus when he was, allegedly, talking to the police detective early in the investigation.

Marcus and Markieff denied knowing Hood but told police that his name sounded familiar. They told police that they heard about a fight but were not involved.

"I feel like if we wasn't in the NBA, (expletive), we wouldn't be having this conversation," Marcus said to the detective.

As we found out later, Hood was a very close friend of the family for many years, so it's questionable that the brothers could have forgotten him so quickly.

But the boys don't want to be on trial during the NBA season. Right now, the trial is set to begin on September 30, which is right when training camps begin for the 2015-16 season.

As you might have expected, the lawyers for the Morris brothers and the three other defendants have requested to extend the timelines on the case by re-classifying the case as a Complex Capital Case. All defendants have the right to a speedy trial unless they request continuances and extensions. By designating the whole case as 'complex' the timelines can be stretched to 270 days from the date of arraignment, according to this site.

(3) Complex Cases. One year from arraignment for cases in which the indictment, information or complaint is filed between December 1, 2002 and December 1, 2005, and for subsequent cases 270 days from arraignment if the person is charged with any of the following:
(i) 1st Degree Murder, except as provided in paragraph (a)(4) of this rule,
(ii) Offenses that will require the court to consider evidence obtained as the result of an order permitting the interception of wire, electronic or oral communication,
(iii) Any complex cases as determined by a written factual finding by the court.

As a result, if the case still appears to be headed for trial, the Morris brothers will likely petition to suspend the trial timeline into 2016. Still, 270 days from the last arraignment date would put the trial ending no later than mid-February 2016. You've got to think the Morrii lawyers won't ever want this going to trial.

Once the motions to reclassify the case as Complex/Capital was granted, the Morris' lawyers filed a 'MOTION TO REMAND TO THE GRAND JURY FOR A NEW FINDING OF PROBABLE CAUSE' on July 14, 2015.

Transcripts of the original grand jury proceedings from April 9, 2015 were made available to the defense on Monday, July 27 (last week), and the Morris' lawyers filed a request to 'EXTEND TIME TO FILE A RESPONSE' on Friday, July 31.

The boys are due back in court today, August 3, for another pretrial conference to consider motions.

With the open motions to remand the grand jury for a new finding, and the request for extended time to file a response, the Morris brothers' appearance in court today will likely be a short one.

Watch for news of whether the judge grants a new grand jury hearing.

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