What's at Stake
Whether delays caused by systemic deficiencies in a state’s indigent defense system can ever be charged against the state in deciding whether a criminal defendant has been denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial. DECIDED
The Constitution guarantees every defendant a right to a speedy trial. In this case, the defendant was not brought to trial for three years because of what the Vermont Supreme Court described as systemic failures in the state’s indigent defense system. In an amicus brief filed with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the ACLU argues that such failures were properly considered by the Vermont Supreme Court in concluding that the defendant’s speedy trial rights had been violated.