State v. Mackroy-Davis, 251 N.J. 217 (2022)


David White argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court in a case that addressed the speedy-trial requirements of the Criminal Justice Reform Act (CJRA) and corresponding court rule as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CJRA includes several time limits designed to move cases with detained defendants to trial more quickly. Defendants must be released after two years, subject to a hearing on conditions of release if the prosecutor “is not ready to proceed.” The statute is silent concerning a situation where the parties are prepared but, as has happened during COVID, there are not available courtrooms or judges.

The Court rejected an outer limit of detention and affirmed the right to be tried within two years of detention, excluding delays attributable to the defendant, if the prosecution is not ready to proceed to trial. In so ruling, the Court provided guidance on applying the timeframes under the CJRA. These included creating a clear record for granted extensions and defining what it means to be trial-ready in connection with the two-year cap. Dillon J. McGuire co-authored the brief.

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