Rule 600 | Speedy Trial | Robbery
I was charged with Robbery as a felony of the first degree. I was arrested over two years ago. My attorney took one continuance at my preliminary hearing for 60 days. I know based on reading your other posts on Rule 600 that my speedy trial rights have been violated, yet my lawyer tells me that we will not win a Rule 600 motion to dismiss, so she won’t file one. Also, she tells me the reason is that we are in a very busy room and my case is not the oldest. How can this be?
The rules regarding the court on trial are unclear and totally unfair to defendants like yourself. Obviously the rule states 365 days less any time attributable to the defendant or the defense attorney. So if your case is 730 days old, less 60 days for your continuance, your case is at 670 days, which is 305 days over the limit.
The DA can ask for excusable or extendable time (which are nowhere in the statute), for different reasons, such as police not available because they are on another job, or because the court is on trial.
I think in order for the court to be on trial to show diligence in a 600 motion, the DA must show that they tried to move the case out of the room it was in and take it to the next available judge. Then if there is no available room in the entire county to try the case, then they can say they were diligent and ask the time be ruled excusable or extendable.
In very small counties with only one criminal judge, my answer is different. In those counties, the only thing the commonwealth can argue is that the other case they are doing is older. Any other argument is defective. If there is a high profile rape or murder and they do it before your case even though your case is older, that time should not be ruled extendable or excusable.
There is a new Rule 600 that may end all of this nonsense. Basically though, my answer is that most judges aren’t granting these.