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The Champion

May 2019 , Page 59 

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Informal Opinion: Delay and ‘Psychological’ Effects Contribute to Violation of Speedy Trial Right

By Quintin Chatman

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How long is too long to wait for trial after being arrested? The defendants in United States v. Black1 waited more than five years. Noting the extraordinary delay and the psychological effects of pretrial custody, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that defendants’ Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial had been violated.

On March 6, 2012, a grand jury indicted Rodshaun Black, Ernest Green, and Daniel Rodriguez (“defendants”) for Hobbs Act conspiracy in connection with the murder of Jabril Harper. The next day, prosecutors informed the district court that defendants’ case might become eligible for capital prosecution. In December 2014, the prosecution filed a superseding indictment adding new charges and accusing Green and Black of a new crime. Instead of one count, the case ballooned to nine counts.

In January 2015 — two years and 10 months after the government informed the defendants that they could face capital prosecution — the government’s lawyers decided that th

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