In an opinion last week, Judge Daniels denied a motion to dismiss a case alleging that extreme delays in the Bronx Criminal Court system violated the constitutional guarantee of a speedy trial. While Judge Daniels found that the named plaintiffs lacked standing because their cases had been resolved, Judge Daniels allowed 30 days for the plaintiffs to be replaced with plaintiffs having pending cases in the Bronx Criminal Court system.
On the merits, he found that the plaintiffs had stated a claim:
Years of continuous delay in providing misdemeanor trials attributed not to the defendant, but solely to the lack of readiness of the prosecutor and/or the unavailability of courtrooms, judges, jurors, or other necessary court personnel, facilities, or equipment, is presumptively unreasonable. It is the State’s responsibility to ensure that each person accused of a crime is provided a speedy trial consistent with federal constitutional guarantees. Defendants urge this Court to ignore Plaintiffs’ allegations because “[t]he Sixth Amendment does not require the state to bring a criminal defendant to trial within any specific time period,” (Mem. at 21 (citing Wallace v. Kern, 499 F.2d 1345, 1349 (2d Cir. 1974)). To adopt such reasoning would unacceptably weaken the meaning of federal constitutional speedy trial rights. For the constitutional guarantee of the right to speedy trial to retain its meaning and utility, there must be some generally recognized point beyond which delays in misdemeanor proceedings are presumptively unreasonable.
Our prior coverage of the case is here.