Oral argument: Feb. 22, 2011
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Sept. 3, 2009)
SPEEDY TRIAL ACT, PRETRIAL MOTIONS, DELAY
The United States indicted Respondent Jason Tinklenberg for illegal possession of a handgun and materials used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, or “crystal meth.” On the last business day before his trial, Tinklenberg filed a motion to dismiss the indictment for violation of the Speedy Trial Act. The Speedy Trial Act requires certain federal criminal trials to begin within 70 days of the defendant’s first appearance before the court, unless certain “delays,” including the filing of pretrial motions, occur. The government argues that two of its pretrial motions qualify as excludable delays. Tinklenberg argues that because these pretrial motions did not result in a postponement of the trial date, the Speedy Trial Act does not exclude them from the 70-day count. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Tinklenberg, finding that 73 non-excludable days occurred before Tinklenberg’s scheduled trial date, and remanded the case to the lower court for dismissal. The Supreme Court's decision will settle which pretrial motions are excludable from the Speedy Trial Act’s 70-day count, and could affect the trial strategy of prosecutors and criminal defendants.