COVID-19, THE RIGHT TO SPEEDY JURY TRIAL, AND OTHER CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES OF THOSE ACCUSED OF CRIMES
Kudos for clear thinking from Justice Rebecca Bradley, joined by Justice Daniel Kelly, in a admirable dissent on March 22, 2020 to the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision suspending the right to jury trial for two months, with the dubious rationale that the delay being ordered “is not due to the actions of the government, but is due to factors beyond the government’s control.” Sounds like something a Venezuelan dictator would say, doesn’t it? Sounds like a midnight, muddled thought coming from our Tweeter-in-Chief, frankly.
Justice Bradley well recounts over 800 years of Anglo-American precedent supporting the right to a speedy trial and all other constitutional guarantees of anyone accused of a crime, including this from the US Supreme Court in 1934:
“Emergency does not create power. Emergency does not increase granted power or remove or diminish the restrictions imposed upon power granted or reserved. The Constitution was adopted in a period of grave emergency. Its grants of power to the federal government and its limitations of the power of the States were determined in the light of emergency, and they are not altered by emergency.” Home Bldg. & Loan Ass’n v. Blaisdell, 290 U.S. 398, 425 (1934) (emphasis added).”
Not surprisingly, Bradley and Kelly were on the right side of protecting the Fourth Amendment rights of those accused of drunk driving in State v. Adam Blackman, 2017 WI 77. Let’s hope their love of liberty continues to appear in future decisions.