Presentation of an accused person for trial within a reasonable amount of time to expedite justice and to prevent defendants from languishing in jail indefinitely.
The guarantee of a speedy trial for persons accused of criminal wrongdoing is a concept rooted in English common law. Although the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial, it does not specify what length of time is appropriate. The Supreme Court has refrained from clearly separating permissible trial delays from unconstitutional delays, preferring instead to evaluate delays on a case-by-case basis according to a balancing approach. Under this approach, developed in Barker v. Wingo
Although the guarantee of speedy trial is derived from the Constitution, Court decisions interpreting the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment have provided for speedy trials in state criminal proceedings; for example, in Klopfer v. North Carolina
Barker v. Wingo
Klopfer v. North Carolina