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Name: United States v. Mendoza
Case #: 06-50447
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/08/2008

Reversal was required where the government did not rebut a presumption of prejudice caused by an eight-year delay between arrest and indictment. Reversing the district court’s denial of a motion to dismiss an indictment, the appellate court held that the eight-year delay between Mendoza’s indictment and his arrest violated his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial because the government, which made no effort beyond entering the arrest warrant in the law enforcement database, was negligent in failing to inform the defendant of the indictment after having succeeded in contacting the defendant, (who had left the country), prior to the issuance of the indictment. This resulted in a presumption of prejudice, which the government has not rebutted. After Doggett v. United States (1992) 505 U.S. 674, the government was required to make some effort to notify the defendant of the indictment, or otherwise continue to actively attempt to bring him to trial, or else risk that the defendant would remain abroad while the constitutional speedy-trial clock ticked.
Concurring, Judge Bybee wrote separately because the facts of this case demonstrate how Doggett, which the majority dutifully applied, requires a presumption of prejudice unsupported by the record.