United States v. Taylor

PETITIONER: United States
LOCATION: Pima County Jail

DOCKET NO.: 87-573
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)

CITATION: 487 US 326 (1988)
ARGUED: Apr 25, 1988
DECIDED: Jun 24, 1988

Facts of the case


Media for United States v. Taylor

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 25, 1988 in United States v. Taylor

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 24, 1988 in United States v. Taylor

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 87-573, United States against Taylor will be announced by Justice Blackmun.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Well, this case comes to us from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

It concerns the Federal Speedy Trial Act of 1974, which requires that an indictment be dismissed if the defendant is not brought to trial within a 70-day period.

The dismissal is with or without prejudice depending on the trial court's consideration of certain statutory factors such as the seriousness of the offense, the circumstances that led to the dismissal, and the impact of reprosecution on the administration of the Act and of justice.

This respondent failed to appear for his trial on federal narcotics charges and the trial was scheduled to be held just one day prior to the expiration of the 70-day period.

Fifteen days not otherwise excludable, elapsed between his arrest in California and the issuance by a grand jury in Seattle of a superseding indictment.

Respondent's return to Seattle was delayed for various reasons including the Government's sole processing and arrangements for transportation.

The District Court dismissed with prejudice, finding that what it called the Government's “lackadaisical attitude” was inexcusable and the Ninth Circuit affirmed.

In an opinion filed today, we reverse.

The Act establishes a framework which guides a District Court's determination as to whether to dismiss with or without prejudice and Appellate Court review of such determination.

And we conclude that on this record, the District Court abused its discretion in deciding to bar reprosecution.

It did not explain how it factored in the seriousness of the offense with which the respondent was charged and also seemingly ignored was respondent's own illicit contribution to -- or in his failure to appear for trial.

Justice White has joined the opinion but has filed a concurring statement.

Justice Scalia has joined the opinion except its part 2(a) and has filed an opinion concurring in part.

And Justice Stevens with whom Justice Brennan and Justice Marshall have joined have filed a dissenting opinion.