Hicks Date for Criminal Defendants

Pursuant to Maryland Rule § 4-271, the State is required, in the circuit court, to bring all criminal defendants to trial within 180 days after the appearance of counsel or the first appearance of the defendant, whichever is earlier, unless the trial is postponed for good cause by the administrative judge or his or her designee.

This date has come to be known as the Hicks date, in recognition of the fact that in State v. Hicks, 285 Md. 310 (1979), the Court of Appeals held that the requirement is mandatory. The Court stated, “With the exception of limited circumstances, such as the defendant’s express consent to a trial date outside the statutory period, the sanction for noncompliance with these provisions is dismissal of the charges.” Ross v. State, 117 Md. App. 357, 364 (1997).

Hicks is not a Sixth Amendment speedy trial right case but a court administration case applying mandatory rules authorized under the power of the courts under Maryland’s Constitution to administer their own affairs.

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