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Barker v. Wingo

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 407 U.S. 514, 92 S. Ct. 2182, 33 L. Ed. 2d 101, 1972 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. Petitioner brought this action to have his conviction overturned when, after sixteen (16) continuances, over a five year period, he was finally tried and convicted for murder.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. While there is a right to a speed trial, it is incumbent upon a defendant to assert that his right has been compromised should he not get one.


Facts. In July of 1958, an elderly couple was beaten to death by intruders. One of the Suspects, Willie Barker. They were indicted on September 15th of that same year, counsel was appointed and the Commonweath decided to try Manning first to obtain a conviction before trying Barker. Manning was tried six times, the first four of which were fraught with mistakes and resulted in new trials. In February of 1963, after Manning was found guilty of the both murders, the Commonwealth moved to have Barker’s trial scheduled. It was then continued twice more. At the commencement of the trial, Barker moved to have the case dismissed for lack of prosecution o the grounds that his right to a speedy trial had been violated. The Motion was denied and he was convicted and given a life sentence. Barker appealed and ultimately came to the Supreme Court.

Issue. Whether a defendant must invoke the right to a speedy trial.

Content Type: Brief


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