Take a look at this ...

A 16-year old black teenager accused of a robbery, spent 3 years at Rikers because he couldn't make the $10,000 bail.

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How could this happen?  Shouldn't there be a time limit set by the court for how long they can keep someone in jail awaiting trial?  Is the prosecutor's office so overworked and understaffed that they have a 3-year time lag to bring someone to trial?  Does the prosecutor's office need more funding to avoid this happening?

Some systemic change is needed here.  Hopefully the big lawsuit with spur change. 

The evidence against this guy was that someone identified him as having been involved in a robbery.  Eyewitness testimony is very unreliable, but the courts don't seem to recognize this.  Perhaps this guy was identified by someone who doesn't recognize black faces very well.  Shouldn't the System have taken into account the weakness of eyewitness testimony when charging him, setting bail and keping him in jail?  

Why didn't they release this guy with an ankle bracelet monitor, say? 

Shouldn't a kid be treated differently?  He was only 16, why was he thrown in with a lot of violent people at Rikers?  He says it was a nightmare. 

The right to a speedy trial?

There's a Speedy Trial Act for federal prosecutions, but I don't know if there was a similar law in whatever jurisdiction was involved here. 

The Speedy Trial Clause of the Sixth Amendment seems to have been violated, though.

And why didn't the court take into account the defendant's financial resources when setting bail?

The bail amount should be low enough so the defendant can come up with it - but high enough so the defendant won't want to lose it by not appearing for trial. 

The way it is, defendants who don't have much money are directly harmed by being exposed to a violent and abusive prison environment.  It would tend to embitter people and turn them into criminals.



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