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What steps do I take to prove my right to a speedy trial has, in fact, been violated?

Minneapolis, MN |

I live in MN and have not waived my right to a speedy trial. However, my trial date has been rescheduled over three months away against my will. Given that the four factors that are used to determine whether this right has been violated are fitting (length of and reason for delay, hardships caused by delay, and demand of speedy trial), what steps do I now take to not only prove this, but also get a result? Who do I contact? What do I say? And what else do I need to know or should I know prior to taking the first step?

Attorney Answers 3


A trial cannot just be rescheduled on a whim. There would have been a notation that you waived time at some point. If you have an attorney, are you positive they haven't waived time on your behalf?

If you truly feel you did NOT waive time, then your attorney (I assume you have one, right?) can make a motion to dismiss the case for this violation.

If there have been previous time waivers, at your next court appearance, withdraw your time waiver and demand a trial within the statutory time. If you're not brought to trial, then make another motion to dismiss.

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Both the United States Constitution and the Minnesota Constitution guarantee acriminal defendant the right to a speedy trial. U.S. Const. amend. VI; Minn.Const. art. I, § 6. To determine whether this right has been violated nin Minnesota, four factors must be balanced: the length of the delay, the reason for th edelay, the defendant's assertion of the right, and the prejudice to thedefendant during the delay. Friberg , 435 N.W.2d at 512 (citing Barker v. Wingo , 407 U.S. 514, 530, 92 S. Ct. 2182, 2191-92(1972)). A trial

Generally, a trial must be be commenced within sixty (60) days from the date of the demand unless good cause is shown * * * why the defendant should not be brought totrial within that period. It would seem that your attorney made no demand for a speedy tiral and/or agreed to the continuance. Often, strategically, a speddy trial is NOT in the defendant's best interest so long as they are not incarcerated pending the trial.

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If a defendant wishes a speedy trial, their defense lawyer should make the court aware of this demand, as well as the prosecuting atotrney. In reviewing Minnesota appellate court cases relating to an asserted denial of right to speedy trial, the lesson that jumped out at me was that the defense should demand a speedy trial early and often, orally and in writing, and at each and every court appearance. On a practical level, it is important whether the defendant in custody or not. If the defendant is in jail - in pre-trial detention - fundamental due process requires a speedy trial if requested by the defense. Otherwise, the "right to trial" and the presumption of innocence become meaningless. In one case I handled, my client was in jail waiting trial and I made more than half a dozen motions for release upon no or low bail, or a speedy trial in the alternative. Though the trial did not happen as quickly as we wanted, the pressure did speed it up.

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