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Speedy trial rights need clear assertion says Fairfax criminal lawyer

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Speedy trial statutory rights need clear assertion says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Speedy trial rights in Virginia prosecutions are governed both by the United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights’ Sixth Amendment and Virginia Code § 19.2-243. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know the importance of clearly asserting one’s speedy trial rights in order to protect them. Read on for more.

Fairfax criminal defense lawyer on Virginia’s stronger speedy litigation protection than in the Sixth Amendment

In Virginia, a felony trial generally must commence within five months after probable cause is found at a preliminary hearing (or indictment if no preliminary hearing is held) for defendants detained pretrial, and nine months for those not detained. Va. Code § 19.2-243. That is a magnificent counterpoint to federal appellate speedy trial jurisprudence which generally does not even start the speedy trial analysis until six months has passed, and then compels a four-part balancing test. U.S. Const. Amend. VI; Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972).

Fairfax criminal lawyer on the importance of saying nothing less than “I object” to protect Virginia statutory speedy trial rights against a trial date continuance

Incarcerated criminal defendant Michael Anthony Young entered a guilty plea to less serious counts than his lead robbery count. Young v. Virginia, ___ Va. ___ (July 3, 2019). His guilty plea only was entered after his trial date was continued by the trial court beyond the five-month period for doing so under Va. Code § 19.2-243. The court arranged the trial date continuance when Young’s lawyer complained about receiving a huge dump of new discovery close to the trial date (and the court limited how much of that discovery could be used by the prosecution / commonwealth at trial), said he would not be ready for the pending trial date as a result, moved to dismiss the prosecution as a result of the late discovery dump (even with the above-described circumscription on its use), and did not request a trial date continuance.

When the judge says the trial date is continued, not clearly objecting can waive important rights for the defense, says Virginia criminal lawyer

With only two dissenting justices, the Virginia Supreme Court excluded the continuance period to the new trial date from Young’s five month speedy trial calculation, saying: “Young’s opposition to the resulting delay being attributable to him, while simultaneously reiterating that he could not be ready for trial and suggesting a control date outside the speedy trial window is not the same as affirmatively objecting to a continuance.” Never did Young’s lawyer even use the word “object”. Young.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues the best defensive approach against felony, misdemeanor, DUI, drug & sex prosecutions. To discuss your case with Jon Katz, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation.