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Speedy trial clock should continue after bad faith non-prejudicial dismissal

Jun 02, 2008 Speedy trial clock should continue after bad faith non-prejudicial dismissal

 

Bill of Rights (From public domain.)

In some courthouses, it is hit or miss whether the prosecutor will be ready for trial on the trial date. In other courthouses, it is unusual for the prosecutor not to be prepared to proceed forward on the trial date. In some jurisdictions, prosecutors anticipate that they will ordinarily receive great leeway for obtaining trial postponements, which feeds into a habit of not assuring that the prosecutor is ready for trial and has all his or her witnesses lined up.

Some prosecutors like to fall back on seeking a non-prejudicial case dismissal when their trial continuance motion is denied, to enable the prosecutor to recharge the case. My response is that, under such circumstances, the speedy trial clock should continue running, lest the non-prejudicial dismissal become a cynical end-run around a denial of a postponement motion. Maryland’s highest court generally agrees. Maryland v. Price, 385 Md. 261, 868 A.2d 252 (2005).

What is the situation where you practice criminal defense? Are prosecutors automatically able to obtain non-prejudicial case dismissals? Do court opinions and court practice throw obstacles in front of prosecutorial efforts to turn such dismissals into end-runs around denials of trial postponements? Jon Katz

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