In a recent amicus
brief filed with the Supreme Judicial Court in Commonwealth of
Massachusetts v. Rodrick James Taylor, the Boston Bar Association (BBA) makes the case
that when the prosecution fails to turn over mandatory automatic discovery,
resulting continuances do not necessarily stop the speedy-trial
Oral arguments are scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Judicial
Court on December 5. The BBA in its brief asks the court to resolve the tension
between the requirement of Mass. R. Crim. P. 14 (a) that the Commonwealth
produce certain categories of mandatory, automatic discovery, on the one hand,
and the requirement of Mass. R. Crim. P. 36 (b) that defendants be brought to
trial within one year (with only limited exceptions), on the other.
brief further states that "where there is no dispute that the Commonwealth owes
the defense mandatory discovery items, defendants should not be forced to choose
between the procedural guaranties of automatic discovery and a speedy trial.
Instead, defendants should be free to move to compel the production of
outstanding mandatory discovery from the Commonwealth while at the same time
objecting to the exclusion of further time that the Commonwealth may request for
The Boston Bar Association's brief was drafted on a pro bono
basis by William M. Jay, Paul F. Ware Jr., Joshua M. Daniels, and Kevin Martin
of Goodwin Procter.