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Category: Speedy Trial

Court Holds Right to Speedy Trial Attaches at First Indictment or Arrest, Finds WDNY Violation for Third Time in Two Years

The Sixth Amendment guarantees that the “accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.”  But when does the clock begin to run?  In United States v. Black, the Second Circuit (Pooler, Newman, and Cote sitting by designation and dissenting) held that the right to a speedy trial attaches at the first indictment or arrest and not when the defendant is accused of a particular charge, as is true with the right to counsel.  On that basis, the Court affirmed the dismissal of criminal charges (relating to a murder) asserted for the first time in a superseding indictment, finding that because the charges stemmed from the same conduct as the initial indictment (which charged an armed robbery that led to the death of victims), the length of delay for speedy-trial purposes was the sixty-eight months between the initial indictment and trial, rather than the considerably shorter period between the superseding indictment and trial.  As the panel repeatedly emphasized, the decision marks the third time in two years that the Circuit has found a speedy trial violation in the Western District of New York.  See United States v. Tigano, 880 F.3d 603 (2d Cir. 2018) (covered here and here); United States v. Pennick, 713 F. App’x 33 (2d Cir. 2017) (summary order). . 

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Joseph Tigano’s Ticking Clock: Circuit Reverses Conviction of Defendant Forced to Wait Seven Years for Trial

On November 15, 2017, the Second Circuit reversed by summary order the conviction of Joseph Tigano III on drug charges, determining that he had been deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial and indicating that an opinion would follow.  This week, the court issued its opinion, detailing the “exceptional facts” that had culminated in a nearly seven-year lapse between Mr. Tigano’s arrest and his trial, despite his repeated invocation of his right to a speedy trial.  Indeed, the Court stated that the pretrial detention here “appears to be the longest ever experienced by a defendant in a speedy trial case in the Second Circuit.”  The Court held that that length of time, combined with other relevant factors, compelled the conclusion that his Sixth Amendment rights had been violated.  Judge Pooler authored the opinion, and was joined by Judge Winter and Judge Walker.

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Circuit Reverses Conviction & Dismisses Indictment in Case Where Defendant Waited Seven Years for Trial

In United States v. Tigano, No. 15-3073 (Winter, Walker, Pooler), the Second Circuit issued a short order reversing the conviction of Joseph Tigano, III and dismissing the indictment with prejudice.  The Court noted that a full opinion in the case would be forthcoming.  Gary Stein, a former chief appellate attorney in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and now in private practice, represented Tigano pursuant to a court appointment.

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