Speedy Trial Issue Going To Supreme Court

1/31/12.  The NJ State bar has approved amicus participation in State v Cahill. In Cahill the App Div affirmed a speedy trial dismissal of a DWI after a 16 month period between downgrade and listing. The State requested cert essentially for two reasons, (1) that the def never asserted his right to a speedy trial and showed no actual prejudice and (2) that dismissal goes against, in the State’s words, the Court’s long held “philosophy” to eradicate DWI from our roads. The Bar is particularly concerned with the implications to judicial impartiality from the later States’ point. While we agree that there is a public policy, of course, against DWI, we do not agree that this is part of a Court held “philosophy” that can mitigate a defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial. Further, there are issues with whether the NJ Constitution requires a defendant to bring himself to trial, whether actual prejudice is necessary in the context of a traffic case, whether AOC dir 1-84 (60 days) can only be used against a defendant but not for a defendant and whether the facts in this case will be much rarer since AOC 4-11 which now requires all traffic to stay with the indictable.

Jeff Gold
Immediate Past Chair, NJSBA Mun Ct Practice Section