Doggett Case Summary

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Facts: 1). In 1980 Doggett was indicted for drug conspiracy, specifically cocaine distribution and importation. 2). At this time he left the country for a little under 2 years. He was imprisoned in Panama under the knowledge of the DEA. However, after the DEA requested transfer back to the U.S Doggett then moved to Columbia. The DEA never followed up on his whereabouts after Panama. 3). He the returned to the United States to Virginia working various jobs. He became married, got a college degree, all in his own name. 4). He was then arrested six years later because of a credit check that was ran for outstanding warrants. This means there was a little over an 8-year gap between indictment and his actual arrest. 5). He then filed a motion for release due to the fact that his right to a speedy trial (6th Amendment) had been violated. His motion was first denied, however the Court of Appeals did grant a certiorari.
Issue(s): Whether an 8 and 1/2 year gap between indictment and arrest infringes on a defendant’s right to a speedy trial.
Holding: Held. An eight and a half year gap
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The conviction would be reversed because the eight and a half year gap was enough to prompt a speedy trial review. 2) The court found that the government did not track the defendant persistently in the 8 and ½ years. 3). Evidence was shown to prove that Doggett was unaware of his indictment in the years before he was detained. 4). The petitioner did not appeal his right to a speedy trial initially. 5). It was determined trial prejudice due to the gap in time prejudiced his ability to prepare for a defense. 6). The court reversed the court of appeals in their decision to convict Doggett’s drug conspiracy. They also found that indeed his right to a speedy trial had been violated due to the desertion of the government of that 8 and ½ year gap. 7). Due to the government’s long delay relief was granted, and the disregard by the government did trigger judicial

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