Speedy trial issue lands before US Supreme Court

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The US Supreme Court this week will hear a Vermont prosecutor’s appeal in the case of a domestic assault suspect whose conviction was thrown out because it took a court three years to hear his case.

Michael Brillon sat in jail without bail for nearly three years, going through six public defenders before being tried for assault.

Last spring a Vermont court threw out his conviction and freed him from prison, saying his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial had been violated.

The U.S. Supreme Court will take up the case tomorrow, trying to decide if delays caused by public defenders can deprive a criminal defendant of that right.

Forty states and 15 organizations are backing the Vermont prosecutor’s appeal of the ruling, worried that if it stands, criminal suspects will try to take advantage of the system.

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