Can Asking For a Delay Hurt Your Client's Case?

Matthew A. Radefeld, Esq.
July 15, 2014 — 1,657 views  

Often when representing a criminal defendant there will be the inevitable decision to announce ready for trial or a plea of guilty.  Depending on the path your client wants you to guide them down - a delay in the case can often be strategically beneficial.

Swift justice is not always the best justice for a criminal defendant.  Delaying a trial date may be helpful in those situations where a witness’ memory and their recantation of events will be the pivotal factor in a jury’s determination of guilt or innocence.  Longer the duration between the initial witness’ statement, their deposition, suppression hearing and then trial testimony- the better it may be for the accused’s case.  The hope being that the length of time between these recorded statements will breed inconsistencies that can be used at trial for impeachment purposes.

If a plea disposition is the logical decision, then a delay can only help those fortunate enough to be on bond to convince the court that they are amenable to abide by restrictive conditions similar to probation.  This can be argued to show that the individual is not a danger to the community and that the court should take the risk in granting your request to keep your client out of prison.    

The unfortunate flip-side to this is if your client is incarcerated during the pendency of their case.  Often these defendants will want a speedy trial or a quick plea deal to whatever you can get them.  To this end, just make sure that you document your file and inform them that it would be beneficial for them in the long run to delay the case for the reasons stated above or at least to show the court that they have done some time in jail without any violations and deserve a chance on probation.

Unfortunately, sound strategy often takes a backseat to a defendant’s desires, but don’t be afraid to utilize a delay in your client’s case if it will ultimately be to their benefit.

Matthew A. Radefeld, Esq.

Matthew Radefeld concentrates on federal and state criminal law. He tried cases throughout Illinois, Missouri, and the District Court of Eastern Missouri.  Matthew argued before the Eastern District of Missouri, the Missouri Supreme Court and the U.S.C. A. for the Eighth Circuit.  He is licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S.C.A for the Armed Forces.  Matthew served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and in the U.S. Army Reserves JAG Corps, obtaining the rank of Captain.  A graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law, he was the recipient of the St. Louis County Bar Association’s 2009-“Most Outstanding Young Attorney” Award and the Missouri Bar’s 2014- Lon Hocker Award for Excellence in Trial Practice.

Matthew A. Radefeld, Esq.

Frank, Juengel & Radefeld, Attorneys at Law P.C.

Matthew Radefeld concentrates on federal and state criminal law. He tried cases throughout Illinois, Missouri, and the District Court of Eastern Missouri. Matthew argued before the Eastern District of Missouri, the Missouri Supreme Court and the U.S.C. A. for the Eighth Circuit. He is licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S.C.A for the Armed Forces. Matthew served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and in the U.S. Army Reserves JAG Corps, obtaining the rank of Captain. A graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law, he was the recipient of the St. Louis County Bar Association’s 2009-“Most Outstanding Young Attorney” Award and the Missouri Bar’s 2014- Lon Hocker Award for Excellence in Trial Practice.