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Alleged Terrorist's Speedy Trial Motion Denied

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has denied the speedy trial motion of alleged embassy bomber Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees "a speedy . . . trial," but it nowhere defines "speedy."  The right "is a more vague concept and other procedural rights . . . [and i]t is . . . impossible to determine with precision when [it] has been denied."  Delays as long and longer than five years have been held by the Supreme Court to be consistent with the Speedy Trial Clause.  Under the controlling decisions of the Supreme Court, courts have no alternative to considering carefully and weighing the specific facts in each case in determining speedy trial claims.

This Court has considered and weighed those facts.  Among them are these.  Although the delay of this proceeding was long and entirely the product of decisions for which the executive branch of our government is responsible, the decisions that caused the delay were not made for the purpose of gaining any advantage over Ghailani in the prosecution of this indictment.  Two years of the delay served compelling interest of national security.  None of the entire five-year delay of this prosecution subjected Ghailani to a single day of incarceration that he would not otherwise have suffered.  He would have been detained for that entire period as an enemy combatant regardless of the pendency of this indictment.  None of that delay prejudiced any interests protected by the Speedy Trial Clause in any significant degree.  In these specific circumstances, Ghailani's right to a speedy trial has not been infringed.
(Footnotes omitted.)

CJLF's brief, filed at the invitation of the court, is here. Benjamin Weiser has this story in the NYT.

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