Time-for-Trial Final Report
HISTORY OF WASHINGTON STATE'S
Prior to 1973, time-for-trial issues in our state were governed by statutes rather than court rules. The following is a brief history of the evolution of these statutes and court rules, as well as the state constitution's speedy-trial provision.
Early Territorial Days (prior to 1877): Section 7, Criminal Practice Act: The statute provided that the accused shall be tried:
(As quoted in Thompson v. Washington Terr., 1 Wash Terr. 547 (1877).)
Code of 1881. The following statutes governed speedy trial decisions from Washington's territorial days through 1909. The remedy was dismissal with prejudice for misdemeanors, and without prejudice for felonies.
1909 Amendments. The statutes were amended in 1909. The changes included adopting a 60-day time period instead of a limitation by the term of court. The remedy was essentially still the same: dismissal with prejudice for misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, and without prejudice for felonies. After 1909, the speedy trial standards were:
These two statutes thus governed speedy trial issues from 1909 through 1973, when the Supreme Court passed CrR 3.3. These two statutes were repealed in 1984, with the Legislature noting in its final bill report that the repealer was because the statutes had been superseded by the court rules.
1973: Original adoption of CrR 3.3. The rule created a remedy of dismissal with prejudice for any superior court criminal charge not brought to trial in a timely manner. The rule placed responsibility on the courts to ensure timely trials and gave priority to criminal cases over civil cases.
1976: Amended two subparagraphs relating to consideration of time during which the defendant was absent.
1978: Made numerous changes, including expanding the subparagraph on deadlines for trial, creating a new subparagraph on setting of trial date, and making changes to subparagraphs on excluded periods, continuances, and extension of time.
1980: Made extensive changes to the rule, which resulted in the basic format that largely exists in today's rule. Changes included substantially rewriting subparagraph (c) (regarding deadlines for trial and created new deadlines for arraignment), subparagraph (d) (extensions of time for trial), subparagraph (e) (objections to arraignment date), subparagraph (f) (setting of trial date), subparagraph (g) (excluded periods of time).
1986: Amended subparagraph (d)(4) (regarding retrials after appellate review) and subparagraph (h) (removing gender-specific language).
1991: Amended subparagraph (d)(4) (addressing appellate court stays of proceedings).
1995: Amended subparagraphs (f)(1) (regarding setting date for trial) and (g)(5) (deleting provision on delay due to appellate court stays of proceedings).
2000: Amended subparagraph (f)(1) regarding noting motions objecting to trial dates.
2001: Added subparagraph (j) on waiver.
Article I, § 22 guarantees the accused the right "to have a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county in which the offense is charged to have been committed." This language has not changed since the original adoption of Article I, § 22.
The constitutional provision, however, was amended in 1922 in other regards. The texts of both the current and the original provisions are set forth below.
Current Version (after 1922 amendment):
Original Version (as adopted in 1889):
History: The Journal of the Washington State Constitutional Convention (1889) does not reveal any significant historical information relating to the speedy-trial provision. Article I,
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