In United States v. Tinklenberg, 563 U. S. ___ (2011), the Supreme Court affirmed the Sixth Circuit’s dismissal of a criminal case under the Speedy Trial Act, which requires that trial begin within 70 days of indictment or arraignment. Justice Breyer’s opinion, however, rejected the Sixth Circuit’s reasoning. The Court held that any pretrial motion will pause the 70-day countdown under 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)(D), finding that the Sixth Circuit’s requirement that the motion actually cause delay to be overly complicated and out of step with practice in the other circuits. The Court also held that weekends and holidays should be included as transportation days under § 3161(h)(1)(F), rejecting the Sixth Circuit’s holding otherwise. (Here, the circuit had been in agreement with all other circuits to address the issue.) In the end, however, the Court affirmed because the two holdings canceled each other out, resulting in a trial that was still over 70 days from the defendant’s arraignment.
The affirmance in Tinklenberg both ends the Sixth Circuit’s 0-14 “losing streak” before the Supreme Court (discussed here and here), and shows that such simplified win/loss statistics are often misleading.