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Speedy Repeal

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August 20, 2005, 17:00
Speedy Repeal
When I was a new briefing attorney on the Court of Criminal Appeals, one of the best cases I got to work on was Meshell v. State, 739 S.W.2d 246(Tex.Cr.App.1987). That case declared the Texas speedy trial (aka speedy preparation for trial) law unconstitutional as violating the separation of powers doctrine of the Texas Constitution.

Well, the Texas Legislature got around to repealing the statute. HB 969, which also changed one word in the discovery statute ("may" to "shall") finally repealed a law that has been unconstitutional for 18 years. Let's have a moment of silence, please.

Now, does anyone have any fond memories of that law? Of course, your answer will almost certainly give away your age. An entire generation of lawyers have passed without having to know about it.
August 20, 2005, 20:47
Martin Peterson
32A.02 meant that my client, Eddy Dean Carr, did not have to continue to serve time for a burglary he committed although, as Judge Onion noted, the decision (733 S.W.2d 149) did not serve the ends of real justice. While my memory of this is not particularly "fond", it is embedded there because the decision in Meshell was handed down just 3 weeks later. I believe this gave Carr the distinction of being the last person to benefit under the Act. I have often wondered since why the Court indulged him. I guess it was because the State failed to argue the unconstitutionality of the statute and then failed to ask for a second rehearing. Some criminals have all the luck!
August 21, 2005, 07:17
Most considered it to the the "speedy announce that you are ready for trial act". Very few defense attorneys are for a speedy trial. So the court files were full of these "I'm ready" papers. Other than that it really never had much effect on me.
John Hutchison
August 21, 2005, 08:59
Tim Cole
I remember routinely filing an announcement of "ready" in every case almost in conjunction with the return of the true bill. As already mentioned, the filing completely avoided the problem because no defense attorney really wants a speedy trial.