Superior Court: Defendant Does Not Have Duty to Object to Rule 600 Violation

Filed under: Criminal Law by Contributor @ March 24, 2014

On March 7, the Superior Court held in Commonwealth v. Colon, 2014 WL 895216, that a defendant does not have a duty to object to a Rule 600 violation at the earliest opportunity, and that delays caused by the defendant after the Rule 600 clock expires do not preclude the defendant from later moving to dismiss based on a Rule 600 violation. Prior cases suggested that the defendant has a duty to object so it is significant that here the Superior Court made it clear that there is no duty to object at the earliest opportunity.

In Colon, the Complaint was filed against the defendant on October 19, 2009, so per Rule 600, the trial must have commenced by October 19, 2010. However, the trial did not commence until October 12, 2012, which was 1,092 days after the Complaint was filed. 438 of those days were possibly attributable to the defendant’s actions (he requested five continuances and a new attorney), but every one of these delays occurred after October 19, 2010. As such, these delays did not have anything to do with the Commonwealth failure to make the 365-day deadline. In fact, there is nothing in the record at all to suggest that the Commonwealth made any effort to comply with Rule 600. The Superior Court also rejected the trial court’s reasoning that the defendant was not entitled to relief because he failed to object to the delay at the earliest opportunity, finding that as long as the defendant does not give any indication that he approves of the delay, he is not precluded from raising the issue even after the 365-day mark.

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