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Panel looks to amend rule on speedy trials.

Florida's criminal procedural rule on speedy trials should not be amended to allow for a dismissal without prejudice, according to the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee.

The Bar Board of Governors endorsed that stance at its recent meeting in Tampa.

The Supreme Court in 2006 asked the committee to study whether Criminal Procedure Rule 3.191 should be amended to allow the dismissal without prejudice, and asked for a report by April 1, if the committee recommended no change.

Board member David Rothman, liaison to the rules committee, said the committee formed a subcommittee that recommended 3-2 against a change, and the full committee ratified that by an 18-7 vote.

He said the Supreme Court request was based on a difference between the state and federal rules, where the latter does allow for a dismissal without prejudice. But there is a world of difference, Rothman said, between the federal and state rules, adding he's never had a case dismissed under the federal rule.

Bar President Hank Coxe, who, like Rothman, practices criminal law, said a change to the state rule several years ago got rid of perceived problems. Until then, defense attorneys could play "gotcha" with prosecutors if they failed to meet speedy trial deadlines.

But the rule was changed, he said, so that defense attorneys have to file a notice before seeking a dismissal under the rule.

"That did away with most dismissals," Rothman noted. "Prosecutors actually like the rule. When you have a garbage case as a prosecutor ... eventually it dies and this is how it dies."

The board voted 34-0 to endorse the rule committee's position.

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Publication:Florida Bar News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 30, 2007
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