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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 63129 Find in a Library
Title: SPEEDY TRIAL LEGISLATION - THE HAPPY DELUSION
Journal: JUDGES' JOURNAL  Volume:17  Issue:1  Dated:(WINTER 1978)  Pages:38-43
Author(s): J F DOYLE
Corporate Author: American Bar Assoc Press
Publications Coordinator
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Assoc Press
Chicago, IL 60637
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: ARGUMENTS FOR SPEEDY TRIAL STATUTES FOCUS ON RAPID PROCESSING OF FELONY CASES WHILE OVERLOOKING THE COURT FISCAL AND PHYSICAL ABILITY TO HANDLE THE WORKLOAD.
Abstract: THE AMOUNT OF CASES BEFORE A COURT MAY BE BEYOND ITS CONTROL, DEPENDING ON THE INCIDENCE OF CRIME IN THE COMMUNITY, THE EFFICIENCY OF THE POLICE, AND THE NUMBER OF GRAND JURY INDICTMENTS. MOREOVER, THE COURT MUST OPERATE AS A PUBLIC FORUM UNDER THE LAWS OF EVIDENCE AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE IN ACCORDANCE WITH CONSTITUTIONAL SAFEGUARDS, SUCH AS THE REQUIREMENT THAT EACH CASE BE CONSIDERED SINGULARLY. ESTIMATING THAT 2 DAYS ARE REQUIRED PER CRIMINAL TRIAL, A JUDICIAL UNIT CAN TRY 88 CASES PER YEAR. COURT SCHEDULES ARE BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT 60 TO 80 PERCENT OF THE TRIALS WILL BE DISPOSED OF BY PLEA BARGAINING. WHEN THE NUMBER OF CASES EXCEEDS THAT WHICH THE COURT CAN ACTUALLY TRY IN A GIVEN MONTH, A BACKLOG BEGINS TO ACCUMULATE. THE GREATER THE BACKLOG, THE LOWER THE PLEA RATE; HENCE, DISPOSITIONS DECREASE AND CONTINUANCES INCREASE. SPEEDY TRIAL LEGISLATION WOULD PROVIDE FOR DISMISSAL OF THE INDICTMENT IF THE TRIAL IS DELAYED BEYOND ESTABLISHED LIMITS. IN ORDER FOR A JUDICIAL UNIT TO DISPOSE OF 250 OR MORE CASES PER YEAR, THE PLEA RATE MUST BE 75 PERCENT OR MORE. HOWEVER, THE PLEA RATE WILL NEVER BE MAINTAINED IF DEFENDANTS ARE CERTAIN THAT ALL CHARGES AGAINST THEM SHALL STAND DISMISSED WITHIN 6 MONTHS. BECAUSE THE SPEEDY TRIAL SOLUTION IS INADEQUATE TO DEAL WITH THE COURT BACKLOG, THE PROBLEM SHOULD BE VIEWED FROM A COST-ACCOUNTING BASIS, WITH LEGISLATIVE MEASURES FOR STAFFING AND FINANCING A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF JUDICIAL UNITS TO HANDLE THE ANNUAL CASELOAD AT THE SPEED REQUIRED. CHARTS AND FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Adult felony system; Caseloads; Court case flow; Court case flow management; Court delays; Speedy Trial Act of 1974; Work loads
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63129

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