Q: Hello, I have a question regarding the right to a speedy trial in Missouri. Is it true that you have to REQUEST it?
I'm being told that in Missouri, you have to REQUEST a speedy trial? From what I'm aware of, the (6th Amendment) Right to a Speedy Trial, is active by default and only changes if you formally waive your right to the speedy trial. This is for a criminal case with a felony charge if that makes any difference. I'm currently part of a case that has been drug out almost 5 years now with nothing to show for it from the prosecuting side and my current lawyer I feel is not representing me at all. He's not returning my calls or texts. He's not doing what I ask or even giving a reason why any of the requests shouldn't be done. And I think he's causing more damage than help at this point, but I don't have 30 grand to just walk away and go find a new lawyer. Please help. I can provide more details if needed. Thanks.
A: You are right in your assertion that you have a 6th Amendment right to a speedy trial, however there are 2 different concepts of a speedy trial. Procedurally, you do in fact have to request a speedy trial and the court should set a trial date as soon as it is reasonably possible. Once you relay to the court, through your counsel, that you are ready for trial, the State has a burden to proceed in a timely manner. Look up Missouri statute 545.780.
The second concept of a speedy trial involves the 6th Amendment, but it is somewhat ambiguous about the specifics of that right, leaving it up for interpretation. There is no guidance as to what constitutes a "speedy" trial. The court will look at different factors to determine if a your rights have been violated.
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