United States v. Williams

Federal criminal trials must begin within 70 days after a defendant is charged, but there are many ways to pause the clock. So it is rare indeed, notes the Third Circuit, that convictions are overturned on speedy trial grounds. And yet this week the circuit yields up not one but two such cases. Case 1: The gov’t took 37 days to transport a defendant to a psych eval—something that stops the clock for just 10 days—and can point only to its own negligence for why it took so long. Conviction vacated, and no retrying defendant because he’s already served his sentence. In Case 2, the trial court, of its own volition, postponed trial by 79 days but failed to discuss how that affected the speedy trial clock. Conviction vacated, but it’s up to the trial court whether defendant can be retried.

Tags: 2019, Negligence, Right to Speedy Trial, Third Circuit

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