600C Speedy TrialJuly 5, 2014
PA Rule 600 Speedy Trial has been changed. The new hot topic is Rule 600C Speedy Trial.
Rule 600C changes the way your right to a speedy trial in Pennsylvania is computed. The new Rule 600c:
(C) COMPUTATION OF TIME: (1) For purposes of paragraph (A), periods of delay at any stage of the proceedings caused by the Commonwealth when the Commonwealth has failed to exercise due diligence shall be included in the computation of the time within which trial must commence. Any other periods of delay shall be excluded from the computation. (2) For purposes of paragraph (B), only periods of delay caused by the defendant shall be excluded from the computation of the length of time of any pretrial incarceration. Any other periods of delay shall be included in the computation. (3)(a) When a judge or issuing authority grants or denies a continuance. (i) the issuing authority shall record the identity of the party requesting the continuance and the reasons for granting or denying the continuance; and (ii) the judge shall record the identity of the party requesting the continuance and the reasons for granting or denying the continuance. The judge also shall record to which party the period of delay caused by the continuance shall be attributed, and whether the time will be included in or excluded from the computation of the time within which trial must commence in accordance with this rule. (b) The determination of the judge or issuing authority is subject to review as provided in paragraph (D)(3).
Under the old rule, the only time that counted against the defendant was the time when the defendant or their lawyer asked for a continuance. Most judges ignored the rule and didn’t do the computation correctly. But, even after the time was computed a lengthy analysis took place to determine if the Commonwealth had been diligent. There is great deal of case law about diligence, and the entire topic was very tough. Hardly any judges ever granted Rule 600 motions under the old rule.
Under the new rule, the tide has turned more in the favor the Commonwealth. Now, the only time that counts against the Commonwealth is when they have no excuse for why they aren’t ready: the police officer doesn’t show with no reason, the complainant doesn’t show with no reason, the second DA in the room doesn’t feel like doing the case in another room, etc. Under the new rule, things like PO in training, PO IOD, complainant at a funeral, PO sick, court on trial with the assigned DA, etc., will not be counted in the computation.
Before the new Rule 600, most judges would not grant a Rule 600 motion. Now, under the new Rule 600, it will be even harder.
If you can get to 365 days in your computation, I would be surprised. But once you do, I predict most judges will still avoid a Rule 600 motion even under the new rule greatly favoring the Commonwealth.