In Florida, people charged with crimes have numerous rights. For example, they have the right to be tried for their alleged crimes within a reasonable time; if they are not, they may be able to assert that the State violated their right to a speedy trial, and, therefore, the charges against them should be dismissed. In a recent Florida opinion issued in a case in which the defendant was charged with identity theft, the court discussed what a defendant making a speedy trial argument must prove to prevail. If you are accused of a theft crime, it is wise to speak with a Tampa theft crime defense attorney about your rights as soon as possible.
History of the Case
It is reported that the defendant was charged with identity theft and wire fraud. During his trial, the government alleged that the defendant, who was an attorney, obtained litigation advances from financing companies in the names of his clients without their knowledge and used the fraudulently obtained funds to pay his law firm’s expenses. The jury convicted the defendant of the charged offenses. He subsequently appealed on several grounds, including a violation of the Speedy Trial Act, insufficient evidence to support his convictions and an error in the jury instruction regarding deliberate ignorance.
The Speedy Trial Act
The Speedy Trial Act mandates that a defendant’s trial should start within seventy days from the indictment’s filing or the defendant’s initial appearance, whichever is later.
Regarding the Speedy Trial Act, the defendant contended on appeal that the time between filing a motion and the conclusion of the related hearing should not be excluded from the speedy trial calculation. However, the court noted that such time is, in fact, excludable under the Act. In the defendant’s case, the district court deferred ruling on their motion until a pretrial conference, and this time was properly excluded from the speedy trial calculation, thereby dismissing the defendant’s Speedy Trial Act violation claim.