This article will begin with a quick description of the historical origins of the speedy trial right and the events marking its quiet evolution into a hallmark of our criminal justice system. It will then move into a discussion of the decisions articulating principles of new federalism which require that state courts defer to the federal interpretations of fundamental rights, before discussing of the controlling Supreme Court cases fashioning the test by which violations of the right are measured. Next, this article will showcase the critical differences between Spivey and Barker to demonstrate why North Carolina's speedy trial test intrudes upon those principles of federalism. The article will then discuss why Spivey's excessive restrictions on the right to a speedy trial undermine both central purposes of our criminal justice system: the protection of the accused and the search for the truth. Finally, this article will conclude with two suggestions for remedying this severe constitutional crisis: revival of the Speedy Trial Act or a judicial expansion of the speedy trial right based on the North Carolina Constitution.
Darren Allen, The Constitutional Floor Doctrine and the Right to a Speedy Trial, 26 Campbell L. Rev. 101 (2004).