Glen Burnie, MD asked in Uncategorized for Maryland

Q: Does hicks rule apply only in circuit court or also district court

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: The Hicks court opinion (from which the "rule" gets its nickname) only applies to the circuit court criminal rule of procedure that contains the 180 day trial deadline limit, and there is no corresponding 180 day deadline for trial in District Court, so no, the rule only applies in Circuit Court cases. The rule itself is not always a hard and fast rule, as their are "good cause" exceptions that allow a trial date to be held beyond 180 days, including Covid restrictions which have had that effect. Also, delays caused or acquiesced in by the defendant has been found to justify extending the deadline. The 180 day time frame is not the end of the speedy trial issue, however. The US Constitution imposes a speedy trial right in all criminal cases, which is measured not by a specific time frame, but by unreasonable delay which is the fault of the government/prosecutor/courts that causes actual prejudice to the defendant (loss of evidence needed for the defense, defense witnesses dying or becoming unavailable, faded memories of the events, extended pre-trial incarceration without a trial, etc.). Speedy trial motions to dismiss are not often granted until more than a year has passed, and the burden is on the defendant to show actual prejudice to their ability to defend the case based on the passage of time, and that they have no role in why the prosecution has been delayed (e.g., by requesting continuances or postponements for a significant part of the delay, failure to appear at prior at prior hearings that caused their cancellation and rescheduling, consent to postponements, requests for other accommodations that caused delay, such as requests for interpreters, third-party subpoenas, etc.).

Scott Scherr agrees with this answer

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