Criminal Law

questions & answers

Question: When a case is identified as a complex case, what does that mean?


In an Arizona criminal case, when a case is designated as a complex case, the time limits on the case differ from other types of criminal cases. Rule 8.2 of the Rules of Criminal Court explains time limits and section (A)(3) of this rule discusses complex cases. The rule states:

A. General. Subject to the provisions of Rule 8.4, every person against whom an indictment, information or complaint is filed shall be tried by the court having jurisdiction of the offense within the following time periods:

(1) Defendants in Custody. 150 days from arraignment if the person is held in custody, except as provided in subsection (a), paragraph (3) of this section.

(2) Defendants Released From Custody. 180 days from arraignment if the person is released under Rule 7, except as provided in subsection (a), paragraph (3) of this section.

(3) Complex Cases. One year from arraignment for cases in which the indictment, information or complaint is filed between December 1, 2002 and December 1, 2005, and for subsequent cases 270 days from arraignment if the person is charged with any of the following:
   (i) 1st Degree Murder, except as provided in paragraph (a)(4) of this rule,
   (ii) Offenses that will require the court to consider evidence obtained as the result of an order permitting the interception of wire, electronic or oral communication,
   (iii) Any complex cases as determined by a written factual finding by the court.

(4) Capital Cases. Eighteen months from arraignment, if the state files a notice of intent to seek the death penalty:

b. Waiver of Appearance at Arraignment. If a person has waived an appearance at arraignment pursuant to Rule 14.2, the date of the arraignment held without the defendant's presence shall be considered the arraignment date for purposes of subsection (a), paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) of this rule.

c. New Trial. A trial ordered after a mistrial or upon a motion for a new trial shall commence within 60 days of the entry of the order of the court. A trial ordered upon the reversal of a judgment by an appellate court shall commence within 90 days of the service of the mandate of the Appellate Court.

d. Extension of Time Limits. These time limits may be extended pursuant to Rule 8.5.

e. Trial Dates. In all superior court cases except those in which Rule 8 has been suspended pursuant to Rule 8.1(e), the court shall, either at the time of arraignment in superior court or at a pretrial conference, set a trial date for a time certain.

If you want to know how this rule and others may apply to your specific circumstances, you may want to consult with an attorney.


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