According to a recent news article from Palm Beach Post, about 10% of homicide cases are still making their way through the courts. This has led to a logjam that many find concerning, particularly the families of victims who are still awaiting justice.
On the flip side of that argument is the need to ensure that the process is conducted just right so that the verdict isn’t overturned on appeal. Further, homicide defendants typically waive their right to a speedy trial trying to buy more time before they start their prison sentence. Then you have to organize lab data, witness depositions, scheduling conflicts, and juror selection.
Lastly, the coronavirus has caused the stalling of many of the most serious criminal cases.
Are Remote Trials in the Future?
It was recently reported that Jacksonville will attempt its first-ever lawsuit in which all of the participants participate remotely. The lawsuit involves a former exotic dancer who claims that she was assaulted by two bouncers at the club she danced for. However, the process is a long way away from being useful in criminal lawsuits.
Civil lawsuits are considered “less serious” than criminal cases. Criminal lawsuits have specific requirements, a higher standard of proof, and can sometimes take years to resolve. The case could be held up by appeals, issues related to the competency of the defendant, or numerous other obstacles that are less of an issue when it comes to civil cases.
Jacksonville has no plans to try a criminal case in this fashion, and even if the civil case is successful, there are still many questions that need to be answered before the government can deprive a citizen of their freedom remotely.
Right to a Speedy Trial
Every defendant has a right to a speedy trial. This means that anyone charged with a felony must be brought to trial within 175 days of their custody. Those charged with misdemeanors are entitled to be brought to trial within 90 days. In some cases, defendants can demand to be brought to trial within 60 days. So why don’t they?
The better question is: When do defendants push for a speedy trial? Defendants almost always push for a speedy trial when they’re shooting for a dismissal of the charges. This may be because they don’t believe the prosecution’s case is strong enough on its merits to get a conviction but could be if the prosecution has time to prepare their case. However, this tactic is universally admonished by the courts, and lawyers can face disciplinary action for using the law like that.
Your right to a speedy trial is an important one. It prevents the government from holding you indefinitely for crimes you have yet to be convicted of.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a serious crime, call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to schedule an appointment and discuss your options.