What Are the Consequences of a Delay In Returning a Verdict ?
In Commonwealth v. Campbell, 425 Pa. Super. 514, 625 A.2d 1215 (Pa. Super. 1993), the appellant alleged that a delay of more than five months in returning a verdict, while he remained incarcerated, violated Pa.R.Crim.P. 1122, caused unnecessary prejudice, and required an arrest of judgment.
The Commonwealth conceded that a technical violation of Rule 1122 occurred, but argued that the delay was "necessitated by the trial court's request for a transcript and by the court's sua sponte investigation into proceedings under the Mental Health Procedures Act as an alternative to an adjudication of guilt." 625 A.2d at 1220.
This court held that:
A technical violation of the rule will not, standing alone, require that a defendant be discharged.
Before a trial court delay will entitle a defendant to a discharge, it must appear that the defendant has been prejudiced by the delay.
As the delay increases, however, the need to show a specific prejudice will decrease accordingly. Campbell, 625 A.2d at 1221.