I recently posted an article about the 270-day rule (check it out by clicking here). It is not unusual for the prosecution to wait several months, if not years, until they present a case to the grand jury, which is then followed up by an arraignment. The problem that the prosecution sets up for themselves is that the longer they wait to do anything about a case, the greater the chance that the case may be dismissed for a violation of the speedy trial provision of the Mississippi and U.S. Constitutions.
Under the speedy trial statute, the prosecution has 270 days AFTER arraignment to bring a case to trial; however, under the Mississippi and U.S. Constitutions, that time frame can be significantly shorter. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Barker v. Wingo, explained that the prosecution has a certain amount of time after a person has been arrested, accused, or arraigned, whichever comes first, to bring a person to trial, otherwise there is a presumption of prejudice. The catch is that if the prosecution can establish good cause for the delay (similar to the speedy trial statute), then the accused has to establish prejudice to have the case dismissed.
How do you show prejudice? Well…sometimes witnesses’ memories fade, evidence is lost, or being able to establish an aspect of a defense is made more difficult because of the passage of time. Time is on the defendant’s side, and if there is even a tiny possibility that the defendant’s ability to defend their case may be impaired because of the time lapse, there is a good chance of the case being dismissed.
If you or a loved one has been indicted on a criminal charge and arraigned, and you feel like your case has fallen through the cracks of the justice system, and the prosecution has done absolutely nothing to move the case forward, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. That attorney should be able to determine if a speedy trial violation has occurred or if prejudice can be established in order to have your case dismissed.
There are many factors that come into play in this type of scenario, but it is best to have a seasoned attorney from Calderón Law to represent your best interests and fight for the best possible outcome in the case. Contact us today!