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Martin Flumenbaum and Brad S. Karp Martin Flumenbaum and Brad S. Karp

Last month, in United States v. Black, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled for the third time in two years that a district judge in the Western District of New York violated a criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial and reiterated that both courts and the government owe an “affirmative obligation” to criminal defendants and the public to bring matters to trial promptly. In a 2-1 decision authored by Judge Rosemary Pooler and joined by Judge Jon O. Newman, the Second Circuit held that a criminal defendant’s right to a speedy trial attaches at the time of the first indictment, regardless of the filing of a superseding indictment. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, sitting by designation, concurred in part and dissented in part, stating that the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial, like the right to counsel, is offense-specific and attaches at the time the superseding indictment is filed for charges that constitute a separate offense.

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