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Vermont v. Brillon

Docket No.: 08-88
Certiorari Granted: Oct 1 2008
Argued: January 13, 2009
Decided: March 9, 2009

PartyNames: Vermont v. Michael Brillon
Petitioner: Vermont
Respondent: Michael Brillon

Court Below: Supreme Court of Vermont

Vermont
v.
Michael Brillon
Question Presented:

1. Whether continuances and delays caused solely by an indigent defendant's public defender can arise to a speedy trial right violation, and be charged against the State pursuant to the test in Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972), on the theory that public defenders are paid by the state (with a small "s"). 2. Whether the right to counsel, as established in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), should result in broader speedy trial rights to indigent defendants than defendants who are able to retain private counsel, such that only delays by private counsel get charged against the defendant under the Barker v. Wingo test.

Question:

1) Are delays that violate a defendant's right to speedy trial, caused largely by the defendant's assigned counsel, properly attributed to the state because it finances the office of the public defender? 2) Should a defendant represented by publicly financed counsel be considered more prejudiced against when counsel is responsible for delays that infringe defendant’s right to speedy trial than a defendant who retains private counsel?

Holding: reversed and remanded
Vote: 7-2
Read VERMONT V. BRILLON opinion (PDF)
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