In April, a murder trial involving a Colorado Springs man was put on hold. This delay has the prosecution worried that the case’s decision may eventually be appealed because the defendant was not given a speedy trial.
The man in question was charged for a violent crime for alleged actions in 2018 and his case was set to start on April 13th. The presiding judge on the case was reluctant to proceed with the trial due to recent public health concerns. The defendant has claimed that the deadline for a speedy trial would pass on April 22nd.
Legal basis of a speedy trial
The right to a speedy trail is a right provided to U.S. citizens under the Sixth Amendment. It is one of the civil rights that guarantees Americans the right to a fair trial in front of a jury of their peers. The clause protects defendants from being held indefinitely without trial.
However, the right to a speedy trial can sometimes be suspended in cases of “exceptional circumstances”. However, legal experts disagree whether the current situation would count as one of these circumstances. El Paso County District Attorney has said that there is no provision for public health emergencies as an extraordinary circumstance.
The presiding judge is expected to hear arguments over whether or not he has the right to postpone the trial.
While the law is often viewed as something that is black and white, there can be multiple interpretations of justice. Unique circumstances often open up these questions of interpretation.
Across the nation, courts will have to answer the question about how our current public health concerns will affect defendants’ rights to a speedy trial.