What Is the Sixth Amendment Right to a Speedy Trial?
The person then learns that a criminal case was filed against them, there was an arraignment that they missed (because they never received notice to appear) and a bench warrant was issued for their arrest. This new knowledge comes often more than a year or more after the arrest.The Point of This Article: The Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial in a misdemeanor case is often violated. Serna v. Superior Court, along with Barker v. Wingo, are the important cases that someone seeking to assert this right should understand to seek dismissal of the case against himself or herself.
The person understands the concept of a statute of limitations and the right to a speedy trial, so he or she wants to know how to proceed.
This scenario is regrettable, especially if the client is informed of the warrant or the criminal case while applying for a job or during the course of an employer’s periodic background checks.
The immediate issue is certainly whether the prosecution filed the case within the applicable statute of limitations for the alleged offense. Surprisingly, our office has seen more than one prosecutor’s office file a lawsuit after the stature of limitations has passed, which is one year for almost every misdemeanor.
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives a person accused of a crime the right to a speedy trial. Under Article I, § 15, of the California Constitution, a person becomes an accused when an accusatory pleading is filed or on arrest, whichever occurs first. These provisions have held that, “. . . the purpose of the State constitutional provision for the right to a speedy trial is to protect those accused of crime against possible delay caused by either willful oppression, or the neglect of the state or its officers.”
In the seminal California Supreme Court case of Serna v. Superior Court (1985) 40 Cal.3d 239, 219 Cal.Rptr. 420, 707 P.2d 793, our California Supreme Court has held that dismissal of the charges is proper such a right is violated, based on unfair and undue prejudice to an accused, such as our client. Prejudice has two meanings in the context of a speedy trial analysis. The first is “presumed prejudice,” which is found whenever the delay in bringing an accused to court exceeds the applicable statute of limitations.
For more information about prosecutorial misconduct, click on the following articles:
For case summaries of selected cases our firm has handled, click here.
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