The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 10 of the Iowa Constitution guarantee the right to a speedy trial. The Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure set forth the practical requirements the government must meet to safeguard this speedy trial right for criminal defendants charged with all offenses other than simple misdemeanors. These rules establish that “it is the public policy of the state of Iowa that criminal prosecutions be concluded at the earliest possible time consistent with a fair trial to both parties.”
Step 1: Speedy Indictment Rule
Under Rule 2.33(2)(a), the government is required to issue a formal charge—typically by way of a trial information—against a defendant within 45 days of their arrest. If the government fails to do so, the case must be dismissed unless the defendant waives this right or good cause is shown.
For purposes of this rule, an “arrest” may not mean what the public thinks it does in the normal sense of the word. In the case of a physical arrest, the Speedy Indictment clock is triggered when the individual is taken into custody, but only if the arrest is completed by taking the individual before a judge for an initial appearance. If the law enforcement officer chooses to issue a citation in lieu of a physical arrest, the Speedy Indictment clock begins running when the citation is issued, regardless of the date of the individual’s initial appearance.
Step 2: 90 Day Rule
Under Rule 2.33(2)(b), the government is required to proceed to a speedy trial within 90 days after the filing of the trial information. Again, if the government fails to do so, the case must be dismissed absent a waiver or good cause. It is solely the government’s responsibility to ensure the deadline is met.
This right may be waived in two ways: (1) by defendant’s formal communication of a desire to waive the right, or (2) by delay attributable to the defendant. Typically, a defendant’s motion to continue trial constitutes a delay attributable to that defendant.
Step 3: 1 Year Rule
Even if a defendant waives their 90-day right to speedy trial, the government is still required to bring the case to trial within one year of the defendant’s Arraignment under Rule 2.33(2)(c). This protection may be overcome by (1) waiver, (2) good cause, or (3) delay attributable to the defendant.
Like the 90-day rule, delay attributable to the defendant under the one-year rule may include any passage of time that is reasonably necessary to act upon a defendant’s motion to the court. Whether good cause exists to surpass the one-year speedy trial deadline depends on the reason for the delay. The longer the delay, the stronger the reason the court needs to bypass the deadline.
If you need help ensuring that you receiving a speedy trial, contact the attorneys at Berry Law. We will fight for your constitutional rights.