The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees a speedy trial by an impartial jury to every American who is arrested. Each state has their own procedures for putting on trials, but every state must abide by the Constitution and its amendments. There is not stated timeline that must be followed when it comes to a speedy trial, which can cause a lot of problems for those who have been arrested and are waiting to be cleared of the charges against them.
Defining a Speedy Trial
As we mentioned earlier, there are no guidelines for a speedy trial at the state or federal level. In general, a speedy trial means being able to have a trial date within a reasonable amount of time after your arrest. In most states, the courts are very busy and getting a court date can take time. But as long as the courts are doing what they can to provide a court date, there is not much a defendant can do about the time it takes to go on trial.
Why is a Speedy Trial Important?
For defendants who are able to make bail or are released while awaiting their trial date, there is probably no hurry in getting to court. But if a defendant cannot make bail or the court is not allowing the defendant to leave custody, then delaying the court date means more time in prison and less time living their lives.
Who Determines Whether or not a Trial Was Speedy?
If you are awaiting a trial date and feel that the process is taking an unnecessarily long time, then you and your Staten Island lawyer can petition the court for a mistrial. In some cases, the prosecution will take steps to delay the trial and push the trial date beyond the boundaries of a reasonable amount of time. If a court agrees that a defendant was not granted a trial in a reasonable amount of time, that court can decide to throw the case out and release the defendant.
What is a Impartial Jury?
The jury portion of the Sixth Amendment states that a defendant must be allowed a speedy trial in front of an impartial jury of their peers. This means that the jury must consist of a cross-section of the population of the local area and be made up of people who are not familiar with the details of the case.
Prior to being put on a jury, each potential juror is interviewed by the prosecution and the defense to make sure that the juror can be impartial in their judgment. If someone has previous knowledge of the case or is familiar with the defendant, then they are usually excused from serving on the jury.
When you are arrested, the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution states that you have the right a speedy trial. This means that you will be able to stand before a jury and get your case over with in a reasonable amount of time. Considering how busy most courts are and how many cases each prosecutor has to handle, the definition of a “speedy trial” can vary from state to state.