NASHVILLE — The decision to dismiss the indictment against Anthony Giddens, former investigator for the District Attorney of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit, was reversed in the Georgia Court of Appeals, according to court records.

Giddens was originally indicted Jan. 31, 2000 on charges of conspiracy to commit theft of Berrien County property, theft by taking of county property and other offenses involving concealment and falsification of county public record, according to the reversal document.

Nearly five years after Giddens was arrested, he filed a motion for dismissal Dec. 20, 2004 on the basis that the state violated his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. Superior Court Judge Brooks Blitch granted the motion and dismissed the indictment.

The state appealed Blitch’s judgment and reversed the order in July, according to the reversal document.

The Court’s reversal order stated, “The trial court abused its discretion by granting Giddens’ motion and dismissing the indictment.”

A four-pronged test is used by the Appeals Court when determining whether a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right was violated.

That test includes an examination of the length of the delay, reasons for the delay, a defendant’s assertion of the right to a speedy trial, and the prejudice to the defense caused by the delay.

After considering all four factors, the Court of Appeals concluded that Giddens’ Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was not violated.

The court stated, “When these factors are balanced with Giddens’ failure to assert his right to a speedy trial or to show specific prejudice caused by the delay, we find that the scales are weighted against Giddens’ claim and in favor of the state’s duty to protect the person and property of its citizens by prosecuting criminal charges.”

The Court added that five years is excessive and the delay is not to be excused, but that the delay was caused by the state’s negligence or other court-related circumstances and did not outweigh the need to continue with the prosecution.

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