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Letter: On ‘Detaining Americans’

Robert McMillan correctly quotes our Constitution’s Bill of Rights Fifth Amendment promise that “In all criminal prosecutions the accused should (actually, “shall”) enjoy the right to a speedy...trial.” Unfortunately, I can’t remember the last time I heard or read about a speedy trial held anywhere in this country.

The average time between arrest/indictment and actual trial is often many months, with the passage of years not that uncommon. Part of the dictionary definition of “speedy” is “without delay,” but multiple delays are not unusual. Of course, many of the delays are caused by and/or sought by the accused and his or her lawyers—usually when the accused happens to be guilty as charged.

However, too many accused defendants who are denied bail turn out to be innocent, and end up unjustly incarcerated for long periods of time, while waiting for their falsely promised “speedy” trial. James Madison and the other framers of our Constitution must be rolling in their graves.

Richard Siegelman