Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
'Time-For-Trial' Task Force Issues Report to Supreme CourtOctober 29, 2002
A Task Force charged with studying Washington State’s “Time For Trial” rule has recommended a broad range of revisions to criminal rules that regulate the time for arraignments and trials for criminal defendants in Washington State. Recommendations were delivered this week to members of the State’s Board for Judicial Administration and the Washington Supreme Court.
“We are very thankful to Seattle University School of Law Professor David Boerner and all the members of the Task Force for their hard work on this issue,” said Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander. “The Supreme Court and the Board for Judicial Administration will consider every recommendation in detail.”
Highlights of the Task Force’s recommendations include the following:
· Creating new standards and procedures to replace the vague and problematic “due diligence” requirements from the case law. The new procedures allow for early determinations of whether the State has sufficiently attempted to locate a defendant, so that any inadequacies in the State’s actions can be corrected before a delay occurs and before the only remedy is a dismissal with prejudice.
· A proposed ‘cure period’ to give courts an additional but brief period of time after the defendant’s 60/90 day period to hear a case.
· A proposed 30-day ‘buffer period’ to ensure that there is always at least a 30-day period in which a case can be heard following an excluded period of time.
· Requiring trial courts to report each time a case is dismissed under CrR 3.3, or a cure period is applied to a case.
· Several proposed changes for clarification and simplification of the current rule, thereby reducing the chances that mistakes in applying the rule leads to a dismissal with prejudice.
Formed in March by the Washington Supreme Court, the 18-member Task Force is chaired by Professor Boerner, including members of the judicial and legislative branches of government, as well prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys and representatives of crime victims.
The group reviewed what is often referred to as the ‘time for trial’ rules--criminal rules CrR 3.3 and CrRLJ 3.3--which regulate the time for arraignments and trials for criminal defendants in Washington State.
Adopted by the Supreme Court in 1973, the current rule states that with certain exceptions, a defendant who remains in jail must be brought to trial within 60 days following arraignment. The right to a speedy trial is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 22 of the Washington Constitution.
Amendments to the rule will require adoption by the Washington Supreme Court. The Task Force’s full report can be found on the Washington Courts website at http://www.courts.wa.gov/programs_orgs/pos_tft/index.cfm?fa=pos_tft.Home
CONTACT: David Boerner,
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