United States v. Marion Case Brief

Why is the case important?

A period of three years lapsed between the end of their crime and their indictment.

Facts of the case

Question

Whether dismissal of a federal indictment was constitutionally required by reason of a period of three years between the occurrence of the alleged criminal acts and the filing of the indictment.

Answer

“No. The defendants in this case relied heavily on the possibility of prejudice. The Supreme Court agreed that inordinate delay may impair a defendant’s ability to present an effective defense. However, the greater concern protected by a speedy trial is that arrest.

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    Conclusion

    The Supreme Court of the United States reversed the judgment of the District Court, holding that the speedy trial provisions did not apply until defendants, in some way, were officially accused, an event that occurred in this case only when defendants were indicted. Because the pre-indictment delay did not extend beyond the period of the applicable statute of limitations, and defendants showed no actual prejudice resulting from the delay, the Court also held that defendants’ due process claims were speculative and premature.

    • Case Brief: 1971
    • Appellant: United States
    • Appellee: Marion
    • Decided by: Burger Court

    Citation: 404 US 307 (1971)
    Argued: Nov 8, 1971
    Decided: Dec 20, 1971