The Constitution guarantees that all criminal defendants get a “speedy trial.” If you are familiar with the law, you will know that speedy is relative. If a defendant is denied a speedy trial, then they may be able to be released. The definition of what constitutes “speedy” will vary depending on the circumstances, and your knowledgeable Clearwater criminal defense attorney can help you to determine whether the speedy trial provision of the Constitution was violated in your case.
Clothing and Prejudice
While this case revolves centrally around a speedy trial issue, it is also about clothing. Defendants have a right to a speedy trial, and they also have a right to a fair and unbiased jury. One of the things that can prejudice the jury is when the defendant appears in front of them in jail clothing. In this case, a defendant was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He was on pretrial release when he was brought back into custody after allegedly committing another offense.
The defendant filed a motion to demand a speedy trial, a motion to dismiss based on self-defense immunity, and some other pleadings. His defense counsel brought him clothes on the day before the trial was supposed to begin, but they were too small for the defendant so he had to wear his jail clothes. The defendant said he did not want to go to trial in his jail clothes, and asked for the court to have the immunity hearing as it was not in front of a jury. However, the state was ready to go to trial.
The defendant’s counsel asked the court to provide clothing for the defendant, but the court denied the request. In terms of the defendant’s speedy trial request, it is only valid if the defendant was also ready to go to trial. So the question in this case became whether the court has a duty to provide a defendant clothing for trial. That will determine whether it should be considered the fault of the defense or the prosecution for the speedy trial to take place.
The Holding of the Court
The court held that in this circumstance, it was not the duty of the court to provide clothes for the defendant. At any time in the few months before this hearing defendant’s counsel could have purchased him clothes that fit him appropriately and the trail could proceed. The court also held that a defendant without proper clothing is not available for trial. Thus, the defendant was unavailable.
The defense also argued that the prosecution had a duty to prove in court that the defendant was unavailable. The court held that this argument was without merit as the reason for the unavailability was known by all parties, so there was no need for the state to provide evidence about it. Thus the defendant’s motion for a discharge was denied.
Contact an Experienced Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney Today!
A knowledgeable defense attorney can help to make sure that you or a loved one are properly defended from any crimes that have been alleged, and that your rights are respected by the court. The skilled Clearwater criminal defense attorneys at Hanlon Law Firm zealously defends all their clients against any allegations. Call our offices at (727) 897-5413 or contact us online to speak with our attorneys about your case.
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