The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution promises "the right to a speedy and public trial," to prevent the accused from being held without a conviction for a long pretrial period. What would have been considered a reasonable length of time for a trial in the early United States at the time this amendment was written?

Also, how long did appeals and civil cases take?

  • 3
    Can you let us know where you have looked already so that folks here don't duplicate your research? May 6, 2020 at 2:05
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    "Speedy" does not mean the time that a trial takes, but the time between arrest and trial.
    – jamesqf
    May 6, 2020 at 3:18
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    Exactly. The amendment was about preventing people from being locked up for years "awaiting" trial. May 6, 2020 at 3:28
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    It looks like the book The Right to a Speedy and Public Trial: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution may address this question around pp.163-166, but I've run out of Google preview pages.
    – Brian Z
    May 6, 2020 at 11:44
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    @Gort the Robot: Having the right to something does not mean that you need to exercise that right. It's often the defense that wants to delay a trial, in order to have time to build a case. (The prosecution probably has done most of their work before an arrest.)
    – jamesqf
    May 6, 2020 at 16:11


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