Constitutional Law

Murder defendant had to choose between desired lawyer and speedy trial

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A Pennsylvania man facing first-degree murder charges in the deaths of two Boise, Idaho, residents wants to be defended by the attorney of his choice, Philadelphia lawyer Jack McMahon.

But John C. Douglas, 45, also wanted to assert his right to a speedy trial in the Ada County case, local counsel Mark Manweiler told an Idaho judge Monday.

The problem was, McMahon had a conflict with the scheduled Aug. 10 trial date, because he is already booked to try another case in Pennsylvania then. So that meant Douglas had to make a choice, the Idaho Statesman reported.

“The bottom line is that he has a constitutional right to an attorney. He has the constitutional right to a speedy trial. But it doesn’t look like you can have both at the same time, at least on Aug. 10,” Fourth District Judge Sam Hoagland said Monday.

McMahon, who participated in the hearing by telephone, then asked to speak to his client privately. When the hearing resumed, he said Douglas would agree to delay the trial.

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