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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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Please explain the 6th Amendment--Right to a speedy trial. My son has been in jail in K

Customer Question

Please explain the 6th Amendment--Right to a speedy trial.

My son has been in jail in Kitsap County, Washington State since 1/24/13. I do not think he was arraigned
until May 5th.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Your son must be brought to trial within 6 months of his indictment. The law states:

29-1207. Trial within six months; time; how computed.

(1) Every person indicted or informed against for any offense shall be brought to trial within six months, and such time shall be computed as provided in this section.


Since the attorney went on vacation, that would seem to be the current hold up. If the defense is the cause of the delay, then the 6 month period does not apply. The 6th Amendment itself does not give a time frame, but the above Nebraska law is in line with the 6th Amendment.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No....I am in Washington State. What is the law for Washington State? I was told he had 2 months if he was in custody and 3 months if he was not in custody. Please let me know about Washington State. Sorry fdr not mentioning the state.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Hi again.

I'm so sorry. I must have seen that it was Washington, and yet my mind was thinking Nebraska. I must have read something about Nebraska just prior. You're correct about the 2 month time limit. The law states:

(b) Time for Trial.

(1) Defendant Detained in Jail. A defendant who is detained
in jail shall be brought to trial within the longer of
(i) 60 days after the commencement date specified in this rule, or
(ii) the time specified under subsection (b)(5).


So, 60 days is the default time. However, (b)(5) states:

(5) Allowable Time After Excluded Period. If any period of
time is excluded pursuant to section (e), the allowable time for
trial shall not expire earlier than 30 days after the end of that
excluded period
.


And section (e) offers several reasons that a trial can be postponed:

(e) Excluded Periods. The following periods shall be excluded
in computing the time for trial:
(1) Competency Proceedings. All proceedings relating to the
competency of a defendant to stand trial on the pending charge,
beginning on the date when the competency examination is ordered
and terminating when the court enters a written order finding the
defendant to be competent.
(2) Proceedings on Unrelated Charges. Arraignment, pre-
trial proceedings, trial, and sentencing on an unrelated charge.
(3) Continuances. Delay granted by the court pursuant to section (f).
(4) Period between Dismissal and Refiling. The time between
the dismissal of a charge and the refiling of the same or related charge.
(5) Disposition of Related Charge. The period between the
commencement of trial or the entry of a plea of guilty on one
charge and the defendant's arraignment in superior court on a related charge.
(6) Defendant Subject to foreign or Federal Custody or
Conditions. The time during which a defendant is detained in jail
or prison outside the state of Washington or in a federal jail or
prison and the time during which a defendant is subjected to
conditions of release not imposed by a court of the State of Washington.
(7) Juvenile Proceedings. All proceedings in juvenile court.
(8) Unavoidable or Unforeseen Circumstances. Unavoidable or
unforeseen circumstances affecting the time for trial beyond the
control of the court or of the parties. This exclusion also
applies to the cure period of section (g).
(9) Disqualification of Judge. A five-day period of time
commencing with the disqualification of the judge to whom the
case is assigned for trial.


In your son's case, I can't say which of the above applies since I don't know the details of the case, but I suspect that one or more apply. If not, then your son's attorney would have surely filed a motion to dismiss the charges. But you may want to discuss that with the attorney to get his take on the reason the case has not yet been tried. At the least, he can explain the delay so that it makes sense.

Does that help? I'm sorry for thinking Nebraska earlier ... don't know what got into me. :)