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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3176
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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How long does it take for a criminal trial to begin. I have

Resolved Question:

How long does it take for a criminal trial to begin. I have been following the case of the murder of Annie Le and will be one year sense her murder on Sept 8th. Still no trial date has been set. What exactly is taking place to hold things up?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 7 years ago.
Hello Customer,

The time it takes to commence a criminal trial can vary tremendously. And delays can be caused by many reasons. After someone is formally charged, there is a discovery process where the defendant and his lawyer get to see all the evidence the prosecution has. It is my understanding that in the Lee case that some of the delay has been caused by the prosecution not even getting the DNA evidence because of a backlog of cases at the state forensics laboratory (see: DNA Backlog Delays Annie Lee Case). So, even if the prosecution has obtained the DNA evidence by now, the defense would have the opportunity to look over this evidence and have their own experts evaluated it. And this is just one piece of evidence. Similar delays could be caused by all the other evidence. And then after the discovery process, there is typically a period of pre-trial motions. These motions could include motions to suppress evidence from the trial because it was gather in violation of the defendant's rights, or the evidence is not really relevant to the defendant's guilt or innocence. A defendant can even make a motion to dismiss a case before it gets to trial. All these motions take time to decide, and can cause much delay.

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