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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 67741 Find in a Library
Title: SPEEDY TRIAL RIGHTS IN APPLICATION
Journal: FORDHAM LAW REVIEW  Volume:48  Issue:5  Dated:(APRIL 1980)  Pages:611-656
Author(s): G P JOSEPH
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 46
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION AND OPERATIVE EFFECT OF SPEEDY TRIAL RIGHTS ARE EXAMINED; SOURCES OF THE SPEEDY TRIAL GUARANTEE, THEIR INTERRELATIONSHIP, AND ENFORCEMENT PROBLEMS ARE HIGHLIGHTED.
Abstract: THE SIXTH AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION AND ALL BUT THREE STATE CONSITUTIONS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE THE RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL FOR A DEFENDANT IN A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. THE FUNCTIONAL EFFECT OF SPEEDY TRIAL RIGHTS CAN BE ASSESSED BY GAUGING THE FREQUENCY AND CONSISTENCY OF COURT RULINGS THAT EXTENDED PRETRIAL DELAY VIOLATES THOSE RIGHTS AND THE EXTENT TO WHICH DEFENDANTS ARE NONETHELESS PRECLUDED FROM EFFECTIVELY ASSERTING THESE VIOLATIONS. THREE DISTINCT ASPECTS OF THE RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL, I.E., THE MULTIPLE SOURCES OF THE RIGHT, THE SEVERITY OF THE REMEDY, AND THE POSSIBILITY OF WAIVER OF THE RIGHT BY THE ACCUSED, HAVE PRESENTED DIFFICULTY FOR THE COURTS. THE FIRST OF THESE, THE MULTIPLICITY OF RIGHTS, HAS ENGENDERED SEVERE IMPRECISION IN DECISIONAL LAW. A DEFENDANT'S CLAIM THAT HIS RIGHTS HAVE BEEN DENIED MUST BE BROUGHT BEFORE THE TRIAL COURT ON A MOTION TO DISMISS OR QUASH THE INDICTMENT, BOTH SEVERE ACTIONS. MOREOVER, SINCE SPEEDY TRIAL RIGHTS ARE NOT JURISDICTIONAL IN NATURE, THEY ARE WAIVED BY ENTRY OF A VALID GUILTY PLEA. PREDICTABLY, COURTS ARE SELDOM RECEPTIVE TO ALLEGATIONS THAT SPEEDY TRIAL RIGHTS HAVE BEEN DENIED AS A RESULT OF DELAYS ENGENDERED BY AFFIRMATIVE ACTION OF DEFENDANT OR DEFENSE COUNSEL. IN CONTRAST, PRETRIAL DELAY CAUSED BY CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THE DEFENDANT'S CONTROL ARE TREATED BY THE COURTS IN A LESS UNIFORM MANNER. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT SPEEDY TRIAL STATUTES AND RULES SHOULD BE USED TO PROPERLY REFUSE EXCUSAL OF DELAYS ATTRIBUTABLE TO A NUMBER OF OTHERWISE CONSTITUTIONALLY ACCEPTABLE CAUSES. FOR EXAMPLE, EXCLUDING FROM TIME PERIOD COMPUTATION THE DELAY CAUSED BY PLEA NEGOTIATIONS ENCOURAGES NEITHER DEFENDANT NOR PROSECUTOR TO CONSUMMATE NEGOTIATIONS PROMPTLY. IN SOME JURISDICTIONS AUTOMATIC DISCHARGE OF A DEFENDANT FROM PRETRIAL CUSTODY UPON EXPIRATION OF A PRESCRIBED PERIOD HAS PROVEN SUCCESSFUL. PERHAPS ONLY BY DECONSTITUTIONALIZING THE GUARANTEE OF RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL, THEREBY EXTRICATING IT FROM THE MORASS OF CONSTITUTIONAL THEORY, CAN THE RIGHT BE EFFECTUATED. FOOTNOTES AND AN APPENDIX ARE PROVIDED IN THE ARTICLE.
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Criminal proceedings; Right to speedy trial; Speedy Trial Act of 1974
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67741

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