After four years of less-than-complete numbers of federal court judges in the Arizona criminal division, the busiest federal criminal court in the country, the government announced that the court is now full. According to a recent report, the court, which is supposed to have 13 judges, was operating with as few as seven. In 2011, these judges handled 8,070 cases, averaging 1,300 cases each.
The result of this heavy load was long wait times for trials and some cases heard by visiting judges. The Arizona court is a particularly busy one because of the state’s proximity with the Mexican border. Smuggling and illegal border crossings are the majority of the cases, but other types of criminal cases may also have been pushed back for lack of judges to hear them.
The Constitution of the United States and the state of Arizona both guarantee the right to a speedy trial. The Sixth Amendment was drafted because it was common practice at one time to hold those charged with crimes for a very long period of time before bringing their cases on for trial. During this time, the defendant could be bankrupted or could die in prison without ever having a day in court.
The right to a speedy trial is commonly understood to mean that a person accused of a crime cannot be held indefinitely without his or her case being heard, but it implies much more than that. The Supreme Court, in the case of Barker v. Wingo (1972), created a four-part test that determines whether the defendant’s right to a speedy trial has been violated. This four-part test includes:
No matter what the reason, those who are charged with crimes have the right to challenge the prosecution if a trial is delayed. Alex Lane, a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix, may be able to help you if you are waiting on charges or a trial.
If you have been charged with a DUI, drug charge, sex crime or any serious criminal offense, let an experienced defense team fight for you. Schedule a consultation with one of our partners today. Call (480) 562-3482 or send an email.