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Can federal agent have you arrested on state charge that were ultimately going to be federal charges

Atlanta, GA |

asking for a friend. he was arrested by local police at the instruction of federal agents and booked on state charges. almost a year after state arrest, federal agent again arrested him on same charges but federally this time. original charges had federal involvement omitted from every report. he was forced to bond in both courts and jailed for weeks until bonds were met. federal investigation now reveals local officers acted completely on agents instruction and were a result of federal investigation. can agents get around 6th amendment speedy trial rights by manipulating and operating between state and federal jurisdictions? since original arrest was truly in pursuit of federal charges, shouldnt speedy trial start from arrest date of original arrest. is it not excessive to bond in both?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Your questions are all legitimate, but unfortunately the answers are not going to be what you want to hear. First, speedy trial rights only kick in at the point when a prosecution has been initiated in the particular court where you are asserting them. So, though it might be obvious what's going on, I think the law would say that the clock starts running in state court once he is arraigned there and in federal court once he arraigned there.

    Even though you'll hate this answer, the analysis for bond is the same: both courts would look with blinders at just the case that's before them, not any parallel prosecution in a different court. I actually think it would be a credible argument to say that your bond should be reduced in one place or the other (I'd give you better odds in most superior courts in Georgia over the feds) based on there already being a bond in place, but no, it wouldn't be excessive to have a bond in place in both places.

    Certainly, this guy needs to talk to a lawyer (or two) who can press his rights in both places as soon as possible if he's talking about filing speedies in one or both of the courts.

  2. The short answer is that each jurisdiction (state and federal) can bring charges for basically the same behavior because the crimes are considered different crimes. It does not matter if the Feds were behind the state arrest as long as the facts support a claim that state law was violated. Your friend needs a lawyer.

  3. These other lawyers are correct in their advice. Good legal counsel will also be able to advise you on whether or not there is a double jeopardy issue in this case. That is being charged twice for the same crime. When dealing with federal and state court such an analysis can be very complicated.

    These statements do not constitute legal advice. They are meant to be general in nature, for any specific legal questions you should always seek the counsel of an experienced attorney.

  4. Unfortunately, federal crimes must be formally charged only within the time provided by the statue of limitation for those offenses (five years in this case pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3282). The Speedy Trial Act (18 U.S.C. § 3161, et seq.) does not become effective until the defendant's initial appearance in federal court or the filing of the indictment, whichever is later.

    Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.

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