Articles Tagged with “Speedy Trial”

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James Mathurin had a hard adolescence.

As a seventeen-year old, he went on a five-month crime spree in Miami involving armed robberies and carjackings.

Finally, he was arrested when the police suspected that he had carjacked an Acura. He told the police about how he’d spent the past few months. The state law enforcement authorities investigated and corroborated a lot of what he said.

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It has been a good year for defendants and the Interstate Agreement on Detainers.

A few months ago, the First Circuit held that the government cannot request a writ from a district court to bring a person in state custody to federal custody if they have already requested the person’s transfer under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers – after the governor of the state told them that he was denying the federal request.

1328506_hourglass_.jpgNow, the Sixth Circuit* orders that an indictment be dismissed with prejudice under the Sixth Amendment’s Speedy Trial guarantee because the government botched a request under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers. The case is United States v. Ferreira.

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The Speedy Trial Act is an odd thing. Normally, a person charged with a federal crime – be it a white-collar crime or a drug distribution charge – has spent less time looking at the government’s evidence than the government. Often, a defendant is going to want more time to prepare for trial than the 70 days provided by the Speedy Trial Act, at 18 U.S.C. 3161. (Though not always, Senator Ted Stevens didn’t seek more time and that worked out well for him.)

That said, normally the government wants more time too. And, for that matter, the trial court often wants more time. That’s likely less the case in, say, the Eastern District of Virginia, but in a number of federal courts around the country – especially as the pace of judicial confirmations slows – the trial judge is hoping that a trial isn’t going to happen 70 days into the case as much as anyone.

As a result, in many cases there winds up being a conspiracy between the government, the court, and, sometimes, the defendant to defeat the Speedy Trial Act.

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