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In the Georgia election interference RICO trial, the fourth of the nineteen defendants has now pled guilty. Two of them were due to stand trial and this was holding up the trial of the others. Now that they have pled guilty, is there a legal reason why the trial for the other 15 can't be scheduled asap? The court time that was booked is now free but there seems to be no discussion of scheduling the trial of the others now.

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2 Answers 2

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Without delving too deeply, there are all manner of things that go into scheduling a trial, not just the availability of the court to hear the case.

For example, criminal defense counsel need to be available and may schedule other trials for different clients at a time that was previously available for a trial of their clients in this case.

Preparing for a trial takes time as well, and once a date is set, both the prosecution and the defense and witnesses who are anticipated to testify all schedule their own preparations and affairs around the date that is in place.

Also, it is routine for courts to schedule more than one case at the same time, since many of them are likely to be resolved by plea bargains between the date that the trial is scheduled and date of the trial. There could very well be other unrelated trials that are "second set" or "third set" behind these trials on that date.

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  • I wonder which, if any, of these apply in this case.
    – Simd
    Oct 24, 2023 at 18:49
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    @Simd I have no idea. The answer often would be things that could not be determined from the public record. It could simply be that no one tried to change the date because they know that one or more of these factors is likely to exist and it isn't worth to trouble to try, knowing that.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 24, 2023 at 19:36
  • But there is no existing date is there? I thought that was because they didn't know how long the first trials would take.
    – Simd
    Oct 24, 2023 at 19:37
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    @Simd I think that's where your misconception is. There is no "happens after" relationship here. Some people wanted a speedy trial, some wanted more time to prepare. So far as I know the trials are scheduled independently.
    – Tim B
    Oct 25, 2023 at 8:30
  • @TimB There was never any chance they would overlap in time was there? Apart from anything else, the prosecution lawyers and judge have to be in both.
    – Simd
    Oct 25, 2023 at 8:52
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Apart from a defendant exercising their right to a speedy trial, there's very little pressure to make trials sooner. There are a lot of pretrial motions and preparation that cause trials to be scheduled far after an indictment.

One potential issue is if there are motions and/or appeals to higher courts that would impact the circuit court.

The court has said that they don't want to start the trial only to have a Federal judge grant Meadows's motion to be moved to Federal court. The court said that could take upwards of 6 months.

As of 2023-09-06, the judge is expecting a 6 month delay. That delay is completely independent of the speedy trial defendants. That the speedy trial defendants have both taken pleas thereby freeing up the need to have that trial, in no way impacts the aforementioned delay.

Potentially, if Meadows pleas then the judge may be able to schedule the trial but it wouldn't be immediate, it would just reduce uncertainty.

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