CAAF’s opinion today in Cossio treads across some well worn ground in speedy trial law. CAAF unanimously (3-0) held that 120 days of pre-trial delay did not constitute a speedy trial violation under Art. 10, UCMJ. What is interesting is the creeping influence of technology and how it is actually slowing down prosecutions. Technology and the technology to investigate technology is far and away the most time consuming investigatory tool in a prosecutor’s tool box. Courts are slowly recognizing, however, that data never disappears and that computer evidence is usually found even when the savviest criminal is using the technology. In this case the Court accepted a 3 month delay in Airman Cossio’s trial to investigate computer evidence. Considering Airman Cossio allegedly stole computer identities by creating a fake website for the AFSOC base known as Hurlburt Field, computer evidence was essential to the prosecution. See the real website here. My we have come a long way from speedy trial cases where the big hold up was DNA evidence, that was so 2 years ago.
Fun fact: Cossio was on appellate leave when he was apprehended for these crimes. His first court-martial was not reviewed by AFCCA until 4 months after his second court-martial was reviewed by AFCCA (on a government appeal after the military judge dismissed the charges based on a violation of Art. 10). See 1st C-M here and 2nd C-M here.