The Right to Speedy Trial
One of the most serious problems in the criminal courts is the pressure placed on courts , on defendants and on society due to the increased number of cases tried and appealed (Reid , 1996 . Although there have been an increased number of judges , this has been less than that compared to the number of cases d both criminal and civil (Reid 1996 . Increase in case loads and court congestions obviously results in delayed trials and thus a threat to due process (Reid , 1996 . Delayed [banner_entry_middle]
trials may deny defendants of the constitutional right to a speedy trial (Reid , 1996 . Hence , the argument that justice delayed is justice denied is a prevailing concept in that there is a greater chance for error if cases are not disposed of at once (Reid , 1996 . With this , it is important to look at one of the most important right to which a defendant is entitled to but which may be overlooked because of the increase in case loads — the right to speedy trial
This hopes to explain the concept or rationale of speedy trial starting from the constitutional basis , the various laws and rules involved , and relevant case laws explaining further what constitutes speedy trial and finally this hopes to give it ‘s conclusion on the said constitutional right
Rationale of Speedy Trial
The right to a speedy trial was said to have been derived from a provision of Magna Carta (Findlaw , n .d . The language was incorporated into the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 and from there became the Sixth Amendment (Findlaw , n .d . The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides that , In all criminal prosecutions , the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy trial (U .S . Const . Amend VI . Along with this , is the Constitutional provision which provides that no person shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law (U .S . Const . Amend . V . The Supreme Court has held that the right to a speedy trial applies to defendants in state trial and a right which is fundamental as any right provided for in the Sixth Amendment (Klopfer v North Carolina , 386 U .S . 213 , 1967 . As held in the case of United States v . Ewell (1966 , the provision is an important safeguard to prevent undue and oppressive incarceration prior to trial , to minimize anxiety and concern accompanying public accusation and to limit the possibility that long delay will impair the ability of an accused to defend himself (United States v . Ewell , 383 U .S . 116 , 120 , 1966 . Aside from this constitutional provision , the Supreme Court gave a criterion of what may be considered as unreasonable delay . In the case of Barker v . Wingo , 407 U .S . 514 , 92 S . Ct . 2182 , 33L .Ed .2d 101 (1972 , the Supreme Court listed the factors to be considered in determining whether delay was unreasonable or not (Barker v . Wingo , 407 U .S . 514 , 1972 . The factors which must be considered… [banner_entry_footer]
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