Iowa Speedy Trial

In Iowa, a person arrested for an indictable offense (serious misdemeanor on up to Class A Felony) has the right to a speedy trial. The Iowa right to speedy trial is even more stringent than the constitutional right to speedy trial that would otherwise apply. The Iowa right to speedy trial is set out in Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.33(2)(b). It states: "If a defendant indicted for a public offense has not waived the defendant's right to a speedy trial the defendant must be brought to trial within 90 days after indictment is found or the court must order the indictment to be dismissed unless good cause to the contrary be shown." Iowa also has a 1 year right to speedy trial above and beyond the 90 day rule.

The 90 day speedy trial time starts running from the date that the trial information is filed formally charging the defendant with the offense. The State's only way around the speedy trial requirement is a knowing and voluntary waiver of the right by the defendant or "good cause." Good cause is difficult for the State to establish and in this day and age of budget cuts and court furloughs, court congestion is NOT a basis for a finding of "good cause." It is also important to note that the Defendant's actions can result in a delay in speedy trial being attributed to the defendant and no speedy trial violation occurring.

Just recently, the Iowa Court of Appeals had the opportunity to address a defendant's right to speedy trial in the case of State v. Mosely. In Mosely, the defendant was initially convicted but his conviction was reversed and set aside on appeal and the case was sent back for a new trial. While he had previously waived his right to speedy trial before his first trial, he did not waive speedy trial after the case was remanded. He was brought to trial more than 90 days after Court of Appeals sent the case back down to the district court. The Court of Appeals held that when a conviction is reversed and a case is remanded for a new trial, the 90 day time period starts running from the date of procedendo (the date the case is formally transferred back to district court jurisdiction). Because Mr. Mosley did not waive speedy trial after remand and because there was no additional good cause, the charge against him had to be dismissed.