Can Time for a Speedy Trial Be Extended by Filing New Charges Based on Same Criminal Charges ?

In Weed v. State, 411 So. 2d 863, 865 (Fla. 1982), in an opinion by Justice Adkins, the Supreme Court of Florida summarized some of the case law in which the courts had concluded that the State's unilateral actions could not delay the running of time for speedy trial: In Thaddies, the court held that when a charge is dropped and another is filed based on the same incident, the date of the arrest is the relevant date for speedy trial purposes. In Nesbitt, the fact that the charge was changed from a felony to a misdemeanor and then back to a felony did not alter the running of the speedy trial period from the original arrest date. See also Gue v. State, 297 So. 2d 135 (Fla. 2d DCA 1974). In Cowart, there was a mistrial, after which charges were amended. After the expiration of the 90 days under Rule 3.191(g), the state attempted to nolle prosequi one charge. The court held the speedy trial time limit had run since the trial had not commenced within the 90 days. The court went on to add that the fact that the state entered a nolle prosequi did not operate to deprive the accused of his right to a speedy trial given the language in Rule 3.191(h)(2) which provides that the time cannot be extended by the filing of new charges based on the same criminal episode. These cases stand for a basic proposition that is central to this case, that is, the date of the original arrest is the focal point for speedy trial considerations, irrespective of changes made in charges. Only in specifically delineated circumstances can the time periods be adjusted.