Brief Fact Summary. A period of three years lapsed between the end of their crime and their indictment.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. “The Sixth Amendment speedy trial provision has no application until the putative defendant in some way becomes an ‘accused.’”
Issue. “[W]hether dismissal of a federal indictment was constitutionally required by reason of a period of three years between the occurrence of the alleged criminal acts and the filing of the indictment.”
Held. No. The defendants in this case relied heavily on the possibility of prejudice. The Supreme Court agreed that “inordinate delay may impair a defendant’s ability to present an effective defense.” However, the greater concern protected by a speedy trial is that “arrest.