Charged with felony domestic violence, Rick and Morty animated series star and co-creator Justin Roiland appeared in court on Thursday, January 12, for a pre-trial hearing. He will not need to appear in court again until another hearing more than 3 months later, set for April 27.
And even though the alleged crime for which he’s accused and charged was 3 years ago, he still has no trial date.
All this begs the question: How long can it take for legal matters to proceed?
As always, that depends on the particular case, its legal venue and other circumstances.
In this situation, Roiland is charged in Orange County, California, so the case is under California law. It is being heard in Orange County Superior Court, which is a state trial court that handles a wide range of legal matters, including criminal, civil and juvenile cases.
No trial date has been set yet for Roiland, even though legal proceedings date back to 2020, and the alleged crime occurred 3 years ago, according to a report by NBC News.
Legal timetables can be lengthy
As for the lengthy legal timetable in Roiland’s case, it includes these dates:
- In January of 2020, the alleged incident of domestic violence occurred.
- In May of 2020, after an investigation, Roiland was charged in a criminal complaint filed by the Orange County District Attorney. The charges included 1 felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury and 1 felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud and/or deceit.
- In August of 2020, Roiland was arrested and released on a $50,000 bond.
- In October of 2020, Roiland was arraigned, which is to say he first appeared before a judge in court in order to answer the criminal charges, to which he pleaded not guilty.
- Also, in October of 2020, a protective order was filed in court specifying that Roiland was not to harass, threaten or surveil the person named in the protective order. That person is known in court proceedings as “Jane Doe,” who reportedly was dating Roiland at the time of the alleged incident and whose name has not been divulged in court records.
- Until October of 2023, that court order remains in effect. The order also maintains that Roiland must not go within 100 feet of the complainant and must turn in any firearms that he owns or possesses.
- The latest of several pre-trial hearings in Roiland’s case was on January 12, 2023. At that hearing, which Roiland was ordered to attend, his attorney confirmed that a plea offer was available to Roiland, but he did not discuss details. (Under a plea deal made between prosecutors and defense lawyers, a defendant can plead guilty in exchange for facing a lesser charge or lesser punishment, while also avoiding a trial.)
- The next pre-trial hearing is not until April 27, 2023.
This timetable shows that the wheels of justice can grind slowly, whether for a defendant or for an alleged victim. The important thing is to allow time for justice to be reached.
Were you or a loved one charged with domestic assault in Texas? Here’s what you need to know about the long term consequences of a conviction.
Texas laws are different
Texas laws and legal procedures are different from those in California, whether they involve an arrest, indictment, charge, arraignment or trial.
First, you should know that an arrest in Texas does not constitute a charge. Rather, an arrest is simply the detainment of a person who is suspected of a crime. Such arrests can be made based on a complaint or an arrest warrant.
Arrests with continued detainment do require that a charge soon be filed or that charging procedures must be in motion. Otherwise, the suspect may be freed after a brief period of time.
For a charge to be formally made for a felony crime in Texas, there must be an indictment.
What is an indictment?
It is a formal accusation handed down by a grand jury.
The indictment lays out a charge by formally asserting that a crime was committed. It also formally declares that there are sufficient grounds for the state to take action by moving toward a trial.
A misdemeanor crime, or a lesser crime, usually doesn’t need an indictment to move on to arraignment and trial unless the particular misdemeanor crime is punishable by imprisonment. Most indictments are for felonies, or more serious crimes, all of which require an indictment.
Indeed, felony crimes in Texas must have an indictment before they can be prosecuted. Having an arrest warrant is not enough for a prosecutor to proceed on a felony charge in Texas.
Find out why charges might be dropped or dismissed before trial and if dropped charges are the same as dismissed charges in Texas.
After an indictment, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure holds that an arraignment be held in court. Such an arraignment cannot be held until at least 2 days after the indictment is handed down. That gives the accused person time to make sure they are represented by legal counsel, or a Texas criminal defense lawyer.
Serving as the launch of court proceedings, an arraignment involves a court:
- Reading the charge or charges,
- Taking the plea of the defendant, and
- Placing counsel on record.
For defendants who plead guilty, the arraignment is the last step before sentencing, which can come later at a sentencing hearing in court.
For defendants who plead not guilty, procedures leading to trial will begin. These procedures can include pre-trial hearings in which a defense attorney can argue for various defense motions.
As for the Roiland case, in the 27 months since October of 2020, when he pleaded not guilty to both charges against him, his case has had over a dozen court hearings, including pre-trial hearings.
Should you hire a defense attorney to fight your domestic violence charge? Absolutely, and here’s why…
Trial time in Texas
In Texas, felony processes do not require that a trial be held within a specific time span. In the California case involving Roiland, there is still no trial date.
Yet, despite the legal wrangle, his career has flourished.
Roiland’s Rick and Morty, for which he voices the 2 title characters, remains a hit for Adult Swim, an adult-oriented cable TV channel that shares space with the Cartoon Network. Both are owned by Warner Bros., and a 7th season of Rick and Morty was just ordered.
NBC News describes the show as a billion-dollar media and merchandising franchise and one of the most popular adult comedies on TV. Roiland won an Emmy award for the show in 2020.
Domestic violence claims can be damaging
But big successes aren’t always the case when a major figure in entertainment—or a so-called average person—faces a claim or accusation of domestic violence. In fact, it’s often the opposite. A reputation can be ruined in an instant via social media, and jobs can be lost based solely on an accusation, even one that never leads to a charge or a trial.
Whoever you are, if you face an accusation, claim or possible charge of domestic violence or any other crime, you must take that seriously. You must engage an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight for your legal rights.