Criminal Law

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How can a person be held in prison without trial? On the…

Customer Question
How long can a...

How long can a person be held in prison without trial?

Lawyer's Assistant: Have any charges been filed? If so, when is the next court date?

Yes on the first one - but still waiting for one doctors certificate of competency and a police report. It has now been over 2 months

Lawyer's Assistant: In what state did this occur?

California

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

We have a lawyer.... I just need a sanity check - it seems abnormally long that he is being held without trial

Submitted: 30 days ago.Category: Criminal Law
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Answered in 6 minutes by:
5/26/2018
Criminal Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 30 days ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,320
Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

CA law and the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution both provide that a person must be brought to trial in a reasonable time (not a set time) and reasonable is considered by the court based on the length of the delay in bringing the case to trial (6 months is considered minimal reasonable time), the prosecution's reasons for the delay, whether or not the Defendant asked for a speedy trial by filing a motion and any prejudice to the defendant from the delay.

In CA a speedy trial is called a Serna motion. The courts hold that the right to speedy trial does not begin until the Defendant files such a motion asking for the speedy trial.

2 months is not an inordinate amount of time to be held without trial, as cases take time to prepare for trial and if they are waiting for doctor certifications then that is considered good cause for delay.

If he wants a speedy trial, you need to instruct his attorney to file the Serna motion and start the speedy trial clock which means the prosecution then must prove the reasons for the delays beyond 6 months are for good cause reasons. Until the Serna motion is filed, the prosecutor can take their time and as long as it is reasonable, he can be held.

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