Oral argument: Oct. 6, 2009
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit (July 25, 2008)
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, SPEEDY TRIAL ACT, PREPARATION TIME
The Speedy Trial Act of 1974 (“STA”) requires that a criminal defendant be brought to trial within seventy days of either his or her indictment or first appearance in court. Under the STA, several delays are automatically excluded from the seventy-day period, including delays related to pretrial motions. During the lead-up to Taylor Bloate’s (“Bloate”) trial, the District Court granted then-defendant Bloate’s request for extra time to prepare pretrial motions. At issue in this case is whether the time to prepare pretrial motions, when requested by a defendant, is automatically excluded from the STA’s seventy-day period. If this preparation time is included, the period between Bloate’s indictment and trial would exceed seventy days, and Bloate’s indictment would not stand. Conversely, if it is not included, the period would be less than seventy days, and Bloate’s indictment would stand. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will resolve a circuit court split and will also have significant effects on federal criminal procedure, the interests of criminal defendants, the and the interests of the general public in maintaining a fair and efficient criminal justice system.