New Jersey v. Mackroy-DavisAnnotate this Case
This appeal posed a narrow question for the New Jersey Supreme Court's review: whether a particular defendant’s statutory right to a speedy trial was violated. Defendant Marcus Mackroy-Davis was arrested on November 11, 2019 in connection with a drive-by shooting in which one person was killed. A complaint against Mackroy-Davis charged him with conspiracy to commit murder, and the State moved to detain him pending trial. The court entered an order of detention on December 23, 2019. On February 13, 2020, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Mackroy-Davis with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and obstruction. Defendant maintained his innocence and stated he intended to go to trial. Consistent with guidance from public health officials, the Judiciary for more than a year was unable to summon jurors, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, and the parties for in-person jury trials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Supreme Court entered fourteen omnibus orders that tolled the clock for the start of criminal trials for a total of 461 days. The New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform Act (CJRA) replaced New Jersey’s prior system of pretrial release with a risk-based system that, for the first time, allowed judges to detain high-risk defendants pretrial. In October 2021, the State obtained a superseding indictment that added three new charges against Mackroy-Davis stemming from information the State learned from a codefendant in May 2020. The parties returned to court to arraign Mackroy-Davis on the superseding indictment on November 15, 2021. Over defendant’s objection, the court ordered excludable time “due to extenuating circumstances.” The following day, the court entered two orders for excludable time, one for 59 days and a second for 159 days. The court also set a trial date of April 22, 2022, at which time, the State announced it was ready to proceed. The Supreme Court determined that because the prosecution announced it was ready to proceed to trial at the two-year mark, defendant’s statutory right to a speedy trial was not violated. The Court therefore affirmed the trial court and remanded the case for trial.