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Navigating the New Speedy Trial Landscape in Pima County: Progress or Pitfall?


Time, the justice system's most valuable yet perilous asset, is at the center of a contentious directive from the Arizona Supreme Court to Pima County. In a well-intentioned yet arguably myopic pursuit of efficiency, the Court has set forth a mandate that stands to reshape the criminal proceedings landscape come January 15, 2024. While the goal is to streamline case processing, one can't help but question: At what cost?

The Right to a Speedy Trial: A Precarious Balance

The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a speedy trial, a principle that the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure seek to uphold through Rule 8. However, the application of this rule is not as black-and-white as the courts might hope. The nuances of justice demand careful consideration, not a stopwatch approach to legal proceedings.

The Bottleneck Analogy:

A Closer Look Pima County's upcoming shift in case management, while dressed in the robes of reform, could very well squeeze the life out of due process. The defense community is right to raise an eyebrow at the thought of pushing more through a system that may not be equipped to handle the surge without faltering.

The Defense Bar's Quandary:

Defense attorneys are more than mere pawns in a game of legal chess; they are the stalwart defenders of one's constitutional rights. Yet, this new mandate threatens to curtail the time-honored practice of crafting a robust defense, potentially forcing lawyers to choose between the rock of haste and the hard place of incomplete representation. I have lost count of the number of clients whose cases I handled that were dismissed on the eve of trial because my team’s investigative work yielded exculpatory information that the prosecution could not ignore. This work took a long time and could not have happened had the case been rushed to trial.

A Critical Eye on the Future:

As we inch closer to the 2024 deadline, skepticism looms large. It's a critical time for the defense bar, prosecutors, and judges to step back and question whether this push for speed truly serves the greater good of justice.


Efficiency for efficiency's sake is a dangerous game, particularly when played in the arena of criminal justice. As Pima County stands on the precipice of these changes, one must wonder if this is a step forward or a misstep that could trip up the very foundations of a fair trial. Are you prepared to face a legal system that's been put on fast-forward? If you're dealing with criminal charges in Pima County, now more than ever, you need a defense that's both vigilant and prepared to challenge a system in flux. Contact us to ensure your rights are defended with the rigor they deserve.

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