Florida Court Examines the Right to a Speedy Trial in Criminal Matters

The right to a speedy trial is a cornerstone of the American criminal justice system, as it ensures that defendants are not subject to unnecessary delays in the legal process. If a criminal defendant found guilty of a crime believes that their right to a speedy trial was violated, they might be able to successfully argue that their conviction should be vacated. As illustrated in a recent Florida ruling delivered in a drug crime case, however, it can be challenging to demonstrate that delays in criminal proceedings are unjust and unreasonable. If you are charged with a drug-related offense, it is smart to talk to a Sarasota drug crime criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant was charged with and convicted of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a controlled substance. He was convicted and sentenced to 235 months in prison. He appealed on numerous grounds, including the assertion that the trial court violated his right to a speedy trial.

The Right to a Speedy Trial in Criminal Matters

After careful analysis, the court found that the defendant’s right to a speedy trial was not violated and upheld his conviction. The court explained that the Speedy Trial Act establishes guidelines for expediting criminal trials while allowing for justifiable delays. The Act excludes certain periods of delay stemming from proceedings involving the defendant, including delays caused by pretrial motions from filing through disposition.

Additionally, delays resulting from the district court’s grant of a continuance for the sake of justice are also excluded, provided that the court explains its rationale. The Act furnishes a non-exclusive list of factors that judges must consider when deciding to grant a continuance. One such factor pertains to cases where an arrest precedes indictment, allowing for delays if it’s unreasonable to expect prompt indictment due to the circumstances.

When assessing whether a defendant’s right to a speedy trial has been violated, the courts will review legal questions are reviewed de novo, while factual inquiries are assessed under the clearly erroneous standard.

In the subject case, the court found that the delays in the defendant’s trial between September 2019 and May 2021 did not infringe on his speedy trial rights. Instead, the court explained, the delays during this period were legitimate and permissible due to the necessity of addressing pending motions, ongoing pandemic-related emergencies, efforts to secure replacement counsel and responses to motions concerning Double Jeopardy and speedy trial concerns. The district court appropriately granted these continuances in the interest of justice. As such, the court upheld the trial court rulings.

Meet With a Trusted Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney

It is paramount that the courts uphold criminal defendants’ right to a speedy trial, and if they fail to do so, it may constitute grounds for vacating a conviction. If you are charged with a drug crime or any other offense, it is important to meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. The trusted Sarasota drug crime defense lawyers of Hanlon Law are well-versed in what it takes to prevail in criminal proceedings, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can reach Hanlon Law by calling 941-462-1789 or using the online form to set up a conference.

Contact Information