The Speedy Trial Act of 1974 (Act) provides, inter alia, that in “any case in which a plea of not guilty is entered, the trial . . . shall commence within seventy days” after the arraignment, 18 U. S. C. §3161(c)(1), but lists a number of exclusions from the 70-day period, including “delay resulting from any pretrial motion, from the filing of the motion through the conclusion of the hearing on, or other prompt disposition of, such motion,” §3161(h)(1)(D). Respondent Tinklenberg’s trial on federal drug and gun charges began 287 days after his arraignment. The District Court denied his motion to dismiss the indictment on the ground that the trial violated the Act’s 70-day requirement, finding that 218 of the days fell within various of the Act’s exclusions, leaving 69 nonexcludable days, thus making the trial timely. On Tinklenberg’s appeal from his conviction, the Sixth Circuit agreed that many of the 287 days were excludable, but concluded that 9 days during which three pretrial motions were pending were not, because the motions did not actually cause a delay, or the expectation of delay, of trial. Since these 9 days were sufficient to bring the number of nonexcludable days above 70, the court found a violation of the Act. And given that Tinklenberg had already served his prison sentence, it ordered the indictment dismissed with prejudice.

Held: 1. The Act contains no requirement that the filing of a pretrial motion actually caused, or was expected to cause, delay of a trial. Rather, §3161(h)(1)(D) stops the Speedy Trial clock from running automatically upon the filing of a pretrial motion irrespective of whether the motion has any impact on when the trial begins.

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Reference Info:Decision | Federal, U.S. Supreme Court | United States

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