Yesterday, the CAAF decided United States v. Reyes, a case about speedy trial.
Appellant served over 450 days in pretrial confinement before he was ultimately convicted of multiple crimes. On appeal, the CAAF considered whether the military judge erred in denying Appellant’s motions to dismiss for violations of his right to a speedy trial. The Court also specified an additional issue: whether the record was complete as required by Article 54, 10 U.S.C. § 854. In a unanimous opinion, the CAAF affirmed, holding that Appellant was given a speedy trial.
To determine whether the Government was reasonably diligent in handling the case, the Court applied the four-factor test from Barker v. Wingo.
I. The Delay Was Sufficient Enough to Trigger a Barker Analysis
The length of the delay is measured from the date the accused enters pretrial confinement to the commencement of the trial. The Government conceded that a delay of 451 days was sufficiently lengthy under Barker.
II. The Reasons for Delay Were Reasonable
Appellant argued that the Government failed to exercise reasonable diligence when it (1) delayed processing the case so that the convening authority would approve a pre-trial agreement; (2) failed to diligently obtain a court-ordered expert; (3) caused delay by assigning Appellant’s defense counsel to a different installation; and (4) handled its discovery obligations negligently by disclosing information in a manner that caused delays.
The CAAF disagreed, citing Appellant’s contributions to these delays. Specifically, the CAAF observed the following. (1) Appellant should not have offered multiple guilty pleas and instead should have demanded a speedy trial. (2) He was obligated to identify supporting experts so that the convening authority could order the Government to employ them. (3) He never alleged that his defense counsel‘s reassignment impeded his representation or rendered it ineffective. (4) And the Government’s failure to provide certain discovery material did not deliberately hamper him or affect a substantial right, and the Government’s reasons for delay were otherwise valid (i.e., its inquiry into Appellant’s alleged witness tampering).
III. Appellant Effectively Demanded a Speedy Trial
Though Appellant never demanded a speedy trial explicitly, he moved four times to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial. Accordingly, the CAAF assumed without deciding that his motions constituted demands for a speedy trial.
IV. Appellant Was Not Prejudiced
To assess prejudice, the CAAF considered three interests: (1) preventing oppressive pretrial incarceration; (2) minimizing anxiety and concern of the accused; and (3) limiting the possibility that the defense will be impaired.
The CAAF held that (1) Appellant never claimed that his incarceration was oppressive; (2) Appellant’s claim that defense counsel’s reassignment caused him particularized anxiety was belied by his failure to seek postponement of her transfer or to allege that her reassignment made his representation ineffective; and (3) his defense was not impaired; the delay worked in his favor because he was able to locate a forensic psychiatrist.
Ultimately, the Court concluded that, although the case “should have been tried more expeditiously,” there was no evidence of a speedy trial violation.
 The CAAF quickly disposed of this issue because (1) neither Article 54, UCMJ, nor R.C.M. 1103 require a complete or verbatim record in cases when the charges are withdrawn before a sentence is adjudged; and (2) there was no evidence that the defense did not present everything that it wanted to the military judge before she made her decision.
 Chief Judge Stucky authored the unanimous opinion.
 Barker requires courts to consider (1) the length of the delay; (2) the reasons for the delay; (3) whether the defendant made a demand for speedy trial; and (4) prejudice to the defendant.
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