Supreme Court wary of rewarding indigent defendants for trial delays by public defenders

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The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule by this summer on a Vermont case about whether criminal defendants could have their charges dismissed because delays involving their taxpayer-funded lawyers.

The Vermont Supreme Court threw out the assault conviction of career criminal Michael Brillon because his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial had been violated.

Brillon was jailed for three years and went through six defense attorneys before his trial for hitting his girlfriend in the face.

The U.S. Supreme Court justices are trying to determine when delays caused by public defenders can amount to a constitutional violation and when governments can be held responsible since they’re the ones who assign and pay the lawyers for indigent defendants.

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