As criminal defense attorneys, the most important service we provide to our clients is advice. In the criminal context, we present our clients with options they may be facing, oftentimes take the plea bargain offered by the district attorney or go to trial. A recent case from upstate highlights the value of retaining a competent attorney, who’s advice is consistent with the current state of the law.
In the case, People v. Terrance Wright, defendant Wright was charged with a crime. Under New York State law the prosecution is required to answer ready for trial on all crimes within a certain time frame (it varies based upon the crime). When Wright’s case appeared on the Court’s calendar for trial, it was apparent that his “speedy trial” rights had been violated. Nonetheless, he was offered a plea bargain and plead guilty to an offense. Thankfully, Wright retained an appellate attorney who knew that this was wrong. An appeal was filed claiming that the government can’t “coerce” a person into a guilty plea and give up their right to a speedy trial.
Every day at Foley Griffin we make sure that we are updated on the current state of the law. If ever presented with a situation like the one confronting the defendant in this case, you can be sure that the client would know that the government is not allowed to coerce him/her into a plea in exchange for a waiver of speedy trial rights.