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The Champion

June 2007 , Page 36 

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U.S. Supreme Court Sharpens the Teeth of the Speedy Trial Act

By Joseph W. Ryan Jr.

The recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Zedner1 will have a direct and lasting impact on the day-to-day management of federal criminal cases, and will provide an enhanced weapon for defense counsel seeking dismissal of an indictment for undue delay. No longer can the defendant be blamed for a court’s failure to provide a speedy trial as required by the Speedy Trial Act of 19742 (“Act”). Nor can a peripheral defendant in a multi-defendant indictment be ignored or abused by the prosecution’s power to subject a defendant to interminable delays because of its focus on the main-targeted defendants.

The Speedy Trial Act requires that a trial take place within 70 days after arraignment on the indictment unless the court suspends the speedy trial clock for periods of time authorized under the Act. In Zedner, the Supreme Court set the landscape for enforcement of the Act. The Court held that under the Act, the defendant has been assigned the ro

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