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Speedy Trial

Definition - What does Speedy Trial mean?

A speedy trial is a constitutional right afforded to defendants in criminal cases under the Sixth Amendment. However, there is no universal time limit that is used to measure or define the "speediness" of pretrial procedures. Instead, the amount of time that the prosecution has to bring a defendant to trial is stipulated in each state's constitution or laws. Defendants can and do waive this right in certain circumstances.

Justipedia explains Speedy Trial

Several factors can be used to determine whether a defendant's right to a speedy trial has been violated. These include the duration of the postponements, the reason(s) for the postponements, and whether or not the postponements ruined the defendant's case. Additional factors that are taken into consideration are when and how often the defense claims that the right to a speedy trial has been violated.

Similar criteria are used to evaluate alleged violations in federal court cases, where the Speedy Trial Act dictates the amount of time that prosecutors have to bring charges and bring defendants to trial. These include the amount of time taken for pretrial motions, the availability of key witnesses, and the need for dismissal and refiling of charges.

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