U.S. Supreme Court Update: Vermont v. Brillon No. 08-88

From the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section: http://www.abanet.org/crimjust

I”n a case arising from a felony domestic assault and habitual offender charges, where the defendant had at least six different appointed attorneys between the time of his arrest and his trial, the trial court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss for want of a speedy trial. The Vermont Supreme Court, however, reversed, holding that the conviction must be vacated, and the charges dismissed, because the State did not accord a speedy trial as is required by the Sixth Amendment. The Supreme Court held that The Vermont Supreme Court erred in ranking assigned counsel essentially as state actors in the criminal justice system, stating that assigned counsel, just as retained counsel, act on behalf of their clients, and, in the absence of institutional breakdowns of the public defender system, delays sought by counsel are ordinarily attributable to the defendants they represent.”

The full opinion can be accessed at http://topics.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/08-88

Contact Information