In this recent NJ DWI appeal, the appeals court found that the 344 day delay of the defendant’s trial violated his right to a speedy trial.
State v. Christos E. Tsetsekas, ? N.J. Super. ?, 2009 N.J. Super. LEXIS 253 (December 14, 2009) -NJ DWI conviction reversed.
“Under the facts of this case, we conclude the extensive delay in adjudicating this matter, caused by the State’s repeated lapses in preparation, infringed upon defendant’s due process rights such that his conviction must be reversed and the charge dismissed….
Here, the 344 day dispositional period is more than five times the [ordinary 60-day guideline for DWI cases], and … the delays were numerous, mostly avoidable and largely unexplained…. The weight of the delay resulting from the reoccurring unavailability of the State Troopers, despite information that their appearance was required, falls on the shoulders of the prosecutor.
The State must be responsible to produce its witnesses when trial is called. We also consider significant the fact that the State did not discover its witnesses’ unavailability until the trial date, rather than securing their appearance ahead of time….
The repeated delays and unnecessary appearances due to the State’s ill-preparedness, which caused disruption of defendant’s everyday activities, the consumption of time and money, and emotional anxiety and uncertainty, add up to more than ‘minimal’ prejudice to defendant.” (Thomas S. Doerr)