Do you have a right to a direct appeal from denial of a statutory speedy trial demand?
Yes, we do have a right of direct appeal from denial of a statutory speedy trial demand.
OCGA § 17-7-170 was enacted to implement the constitutional provision for a speedy trial. Stripland v. State, 115 Ga. 578, 41 S.E. 987 (1902). (The speedy trial provision is found in the 1983 Georgia Constitution at Art. I, Sec. I, Para. II.) In the absence of a right to a speedy trial the accused might suffer uncertainty, emotional stress, and the economic strain of a pending prosecution indefinitely. These values are of a magnitude similar to the values at stake in double jeopardy claims. The Supreme Court has pointed out that, in addition to the concern of being twice convicted, a double jeopardy claimant is concerned with “… embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to lie in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity….” Green v. United States, 355 U.S. 184, 187, 78 S.Ct. 221, 223, 2 L.Ed.2d 199 (1957).
In double jeopardy claims the accused is saying, “I may not now be tried because I have previously been placed in jeopardy.” In a claim based on OCGA § 17-7-170 the accused is saying, “I may not now be tried because the time during which I must have been placed on trial has passed.” The circumstances bearing on the right to appeal are analogous. Therefore, we hold that the denial of a motion to dismiss based upon OCGA § 17-7-170 is directly appealable under OCGA § 5-6-34(a).
Our answer to the first certified question of the Court of Appeals is that a criminal defendant is not required to follow the interlocutory procedures of OCGA § 5-6-34(b) when appealing, prior to the conclusion of a trial on the merits, from the denial of a plea in bar based on OCGA § 17-7-170.
Hubbard v. State, 254 Ga. 694, 695, 333 S.E.2d 827, 828 (1985).
Our appellate courts treat appealability of statutory and constitutional speedy trial demands very differently. Constitutional speedy trial demands and their denial are only appealable after following the interlocutory review procedure and getting a certificate of immediate review from the trial court.
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