NEW YORK v. HILL

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
98-1299
Petitioner 
New York
Respondent 
Hill
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae supporting the petitioner and urging reversal)
(Rochester, New York, argued the cause for petitioner)
(Rochester, New York, argued the cause for the respondent)
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Facts of the Case 

The Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) is a congressionally sanctioned interstate compact to establish procedures for resolution of one state's outstanding charges against a prisoner of another state. Under the Compact Clause, the IAD is a federal law subject to federal construction. In order to resolve outstanding murder and robbery charges against Michael Hill, an Ohio prisoner, the State of New York lodged a detainer against him under the IAD. Hill filed a request for disposition of the detainer, pursuant to IAD Article III, and was returned to New York. Article III provides that, upon such a request, that the prisoner be brought to trial within 180 days. Thereafter, Hill's counsel agreed to a trial date outside the 180-day period. Subsequently, Hill moved to dismiss his indictment, arguing that the IAD's time limit had expired. The trial court denied Hill's motion, concluding that his defense counsel's explicit agreement to the trial date constituted a waiver or abandonment of Hill's IAD rights. After his conviction and subsequent appeal, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's refusal to dismiss. In reversing, the state Court of Appeals ordered that Hill's indictment be dismissed because his counsel's agreement to a later trial date, it held, did not waive his IAD speedy trial rights.

Question 

Does a defense counsel's agreement to a trial date outside the 180-day time period required by Article III of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers waive the defendant's right to a speedy trial?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for New York, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 18 U.S.C. App.

Yes. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court held that a defense counsel's agreement to a trial date outside the period provided for by the IAD bars the defendant from seeking dismissal on the ground that trial did not occur within that period. Noting scheduling matters are generally controlled by counsel without the fully informed and publicly acknowledged consent of the client, Justice Scalia wrote, "[w]hat suffices for waiver depends on the nature of the right at issue." In such cases, "[a]bsent a demonstration of ineffectiveness, counsel's word on such matters is the last." Thus, defense counsel's agreement to a later trial date waived Hill's speedy trial rights under the IAD.

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NEW YORK v. HILL. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 19 June 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1999/1999_98_1299>.
NEW YORK v. HILL, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1999/1999_98_1299 (last visited June 19, 2014).
"NEW YORK v. HILL," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed June 19, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1999/1999_98_1299.