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Defendant Claims he was Denied a Right to a Speedy Trial


The right to a speedy trial is a right that is essential to the Constitution of the United States of America. Each person is granted the right to a speedy trial before a jury of their peers. However, the Constitution does not define the term speedy. Lawyers and legislatures have argued for two hundred years about the definition of what constitutes a speedy trial. When does the time start?

If an offender commits a crime, does the time allowed for a speedy trial begin at that point? Or, does the time start to run at the point when the authorities become aware of the crime? What about situations where the offender is not identified? Does the time start at the point when the offender is identified? A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said all of these are questions that have plagued the court systems from the Federal Courts to the smallest city court. Defining the term, speedy, has baffled law makers for a very long time. Some cases call this problem into question in a more obvious manner. In cases where the defendant attempts to conceal his identity and abscond, when does the time start for a speedy trial?

In New York, the prosecutors generally are given six months to prepare a felony case and be ready for trial. However, capital cases where the offender is possibly going to receive the death penalty or life in prison, the courts have generally allowed more time based on the severity of the punishment that the person could face. One case of this nature began in 1972 when a man was arrested for being on a fire escape with tools to commit the crime of burglary. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said at that time, he provided a false name and date of birth. He provided an address in Kings County where he said that he lived. The next year, he was arrested in June for rape. He provided a different name and date of birth than he had the first time and a different address than he had provided before. He told the officers that he had never been arrested. Computer systems were not in effect at that time and the deception was not caught until much later.

In 1974, he was out on bail waiting to go to trial, when he was arrested for a rape and murder that happened on July 18, 1974 in Queens County. Again, the defendant gave a different name and date of birth. Again, he provided a different home address to the officers. This time, he told the officers that he had a wife who lived in the Bronx who was called Rasheda. The trial in November 1974 was ruled a mistrial because the jury could not reach a decision. His trial in Queens County in October of 1975, resulted in a guilty verdict and a sentence of ten years. He pled guilty. He still had another case pending.

In 1977, Rasheda posted a cash bail for him giving a Washington, DC PO box as their address. While the court prepared to try him again, he was arrested in Washington, DC. A Nassau County Sex Crimes Lawyer said true to his usual pattern he provided false information to the arresting officers. His case in Queens grew cold since he had failed to appear and the case had been reset numerous times. The court in Queens did not know that the defendant was in custody in Washington for additional charges under another name, date of birth, and address. A failure to appear warrant was issued under the alias name that he had given. His case in New York County also presented problems. He did not show up and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest in that case for failure to appear. After making bond in Washington, DC, the defendant disappeared.

As it turned out, he had been found unfit to stand trial due to mental deficiency for the Washington, DC case. He was committed to a mental hospital in March of 1978. He applied to the Queens County court to accept that he had been incarcerated in a mental institution during March of 1978 and he claimed that was the reason that he failed to make the court date that was provided to him. The court did not find a connection to his commitment in 1978 and his failure to appear in court in 1977 in Queens. The subject again disappeared. He did not resurface until May of 2004. When he was arrested again.

He claimed that following his arrest in Washington, he had been in a mental institution until 1981. A Suffolk County Sex Crimes Lawyer said the hospital does not show that he was there at all under any of his known alias’. Although, his true whereabouts are unknown for this time period, his DNA left a clear trail. His DNA was associated with nine rapes in Maryland from 1987 to 1991. In 1993, his DNA ties him to two other rapes, this time in New Jersey. By August of 1993, he had obtained a passport in one of his alias names and left for Egypt. He took up residence in Egypt and lived there according to his own statement until August of 2003. He returned to the United States in August of 2003 and applied for a birth certificate card using the alias that he had on his passport. Since he had returned to the United States, he was living in Georgia and obtained a Georgia Driver’s license and he had obtained health insurance in that alias.

In May of 2004, he applied for a permit to purchase a firearm using an additional social security number. He proclaimed that he had never been mentally unstable or committed for any reason. He claimed to have not committed any crimes, was not under indictment and was not a risk to the community. He did not anticipate the tremendous advances that had been made in forensic science during the twenty-six years that he had been living life as a fugitive from the law. When his fingerprints were run through the NYSID computer system, all of his alias’ and arrests were revealed. He was taken into custody and charged with all of his previous crimes as well as the two failure to appear offenses for the felony rape and murder cases that were outstanding in New York. He was extradited to New York to stand trial.

In October of 2005, the offender made a motion to the courts of New York State that his indictment must be dismissed because it violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial in that the trial would be twenty-six years after he was arrested for the crime. The court was not impressed with his argument in that he had taken numerous steps to conceal his identity so that the prosecution team would not be able to locate him. In view of the fact that he even left the country in an attempt to intentionally avoid prosecution, the court ruled that there was no violation of his civil rights.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its criminal Lawyers, have convenient offices throughout New York and Metropolitan area. Our rape lawyers can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without a sexual assault attorney, you could lose precious compensation to help your family.

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