Statement on the Passage of the Speedy Trial Bill in the New York State Assembly

Statement from gabriel sayegh, Co-Founder & Co-Director, Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice on the passage of the Speedy Trial bill the New York State Assembly

June 2, 2016 (New York, NY)–

“It’s clear that New York’s criminal justice system is broken. This important legislation, sponsored by longtime reform champion Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry and passed by the Assembly under Speaker Heastie’s leadership, is a huge step in the right direction. It will fix a glaring problem in New York’s trial process, making it more fair and just, while saving taxpayers money by reducing unnecessary pretrial detention periods.

The Senate should stop delaying and pass this legislation immediately so it can be delivered to Governor Cuomo for his signature.”

 

About the Speedy Trial Bill:

S 5988-A /A 8296-A introduced by Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry, would fix New York’s speedy trial statute to improve the effectiveness of New York’s criminal justice system and ensure that people are not unjustly and unnecessarily held in pre-trial detention.

The right to a speedy trial is enshrined in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In New York State, it is implemented through Criminal Procedure Law 30.30. However, CPL 30.30 contains loopholes that, when compounded by severe court backlogs, lead to unreasonable delays for people who have been charged but not convicted of a crime. The result is that individuals are being forced to spend extra months, or even years, in pre-trial detention as they await their day in court

Under CPL §30.30, a person who is detained awaiting trial must be released on bail or recognizance (with or without conditions) if the prosecutor is not ready for trial within 90 days if they are charged with a felony, or within 30 days if they are charged with a Class A misdemeanor. CPL §30.30 also directs that a motion to dismiss must be granted if the prosecutor is not ready for trial within 6 months for a person charged with a felony, or within 90 days for a person charged with a Class A misdemeanor. These seemingly straightforward requirements become much more complicated by the rules governing the “speedy trial clock.” The clock counts down the days to the deadlines, but it can be stopped by any number of events.

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