He turned himself in in October The bench warrant was lifted, and a pretrial conference was scheduled.
Right to Speedy Trial
Soon afterward, the defendant filed an Omnibus Pretrial Motion, alleging that his rights under Rule of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure were violated and that the charges should be dismissed. He further argued that the breathalyzer test results should be suppressed as a result of a failure to comply with the appropriate regulations pertaining to breath testing.
At the conclusion of a hearing, the trial court granted the motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule The Commonwealth appealed.
The rule mandates that a defendant must be tried on criminal charges no later than days after the criminal complaint is filed. However, periods of delay caused by a defendant are excluded from the computation of the length of time of any pretrial incarceration.
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The question presented on appeal was whether the ensuing 25 years, between the time the defendant failed to appear in November and when he surrendered with counsel in October , was excludable time attributed solely to the defendant or whether the Commonwealth had the burden to demonstrate it exercised due diligence in bringing him to trial. The appeals court agreed.
When a defendant undertakes to accept the status of bail during the pendency of court proceedings, the appeals court explained, he assumes the responsibility of making himself available for any court appearances required of him in connection with the action, upon receipt of reasonable notice. Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to grant certain rights to crime victims, including to be treated with fairness, respect and dignity; considering their safety in bail proceedings; timely notice and opportunity to take part in public proceedings; reasonable protection from the accused; right to refuse discovery requests made by the accused; restitution and return of property; proceedings free from delay; and to be informed of these rights, so they can enforce them?
Article XI, Section 1, of the Pennsylvania Constitution requires that when two or more amendments are submitted for a vote, they must be voted on separately.
The court noted that Article XI has been also interpreted to require the entire text of the proposed amendment to be published on the ballot. Finally, the court stated that this injunction maintains the status quo and does not take away any of the rights currently afforded to victims. If the amendment is later deemed constitutional, the votes will be counted.
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