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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76190 Find in a Library
Title: Congress Should Clarify the Speedy Trial Act To Resolve Differing Interpretations
Corporate Author: US Comptroller General
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: Azimuth Inc.
Fairmont, WV 26554
US Comptroller General
Washington, DC 20548
Sale Source: Azimuth Inc.
1000 Technology Drive, Suite 3120
Fairmont, WV 26554
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A review of compliance with the requirements of the 1974 Speedy Trial Act concluded that compliance with the act's requirements has increased over the past 4 years but that clarification of the law is needed.
Abstract: The act established a permanent 100-day time limit during which criminal cases must be processed, following a gradual 4-year phase-in period. Data for the review were collected through examination of statistics on all district courts and various reports prepared for Congress and the Justice Department. Results showed that despite increasing compliance, differing interpretations of the law by executive and judicial branches mean that future criminal cases might be inappropriately dismissed. Problems include the dismissal of some cases before indictment and ambiguity regarding the starting date for the period between indictment or first court appearance and the start of the trial, plea of guilty, or dismissal. Other problems involve the application of the minimum period of 30 days for preparation of a defense and defendants' waivers of rights to dismissal. It is recommended that Congress amend the Speedy Trial Act to clarify how and under what circumstances preindictment dismissals followed by an indictment affect the law's first time limit. The law should also be amended to clarify the starting date for the second time interval, the 30-day minimum period before trial, and whether dismissal waivers are permissible. Tables, footnotes, and an appendix listing excludable delay categories are included.
Index Term(s): Evaluation; Program implementation; Speedy Trial Act of 1974
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