California Supreme Court holds that criminal cases must be dismissed if the State violates the right of the accused to a “speedy trial.”

By: Wallin & Klarich

In upholding 18 criminal case dismissals, a ruling passed down by the California Supreme Court unanimously rejected Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco’s argument that that all available courtrooms should have been converted to help deal with the severe backlog of criminal cases that were awaiting trial.

The backlog of pending criminal cases in Riverside County was so overwhelming that a number of them had been dismissed due to the state’s inability to meet speedy trial deadlines.

In 2007, a Judicial Council task force found that one in four of the county’s jail inmates had been awaiting trial for more than one year. Of those inmates, 127 have been waiting for more than two years, and 32 have been waiting for their trial for over four years.

Pacheco argued that the state should have done more to prevent the 18 criminal cases, including a felony burglary charge, from being dismissed due to the failure to prosecute in a timely manner. He stated that because state law gives preference to criminal cases, courtrooms normally reserved for civil or juvenile law matters should have been utilized to hear criminal trials.

The Supreme Court disagreed, stating that the law does not require courts to devote all of their resources to criminal cases and that the burden is on the state to begin trial in a timely manner. The Court ultimately ruled that the dismissals were proper, adding that a chronic lack of resources is not a valid excuse for failing to meet speedy trial deadlines.

A criminal defendant’s right to a speedy trial is an inalienable right guaranteed in the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution. By virtue of California state law, any failure of the prosecution in honoring this right can result in a complete dismissal of the case. Therefore, it is very important that you have an attorney who will ensure that your rights are being adequately represented.

At Wallin & Klarich, our Orange County attorneys have been diligently providing our clients with personalized legal services for over 30 years. We will work hard to not only help you raise the best possible defense in your case but to also ensure that your rights are not violated. Call us today at 877-466-5245 or visit us online at We will be there for you when you call.

Posted In: Criminal Defense