Betterman v. Montana

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Betterman v. Montana
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued March 28, 2016
Decided May 19, 2016
Full case nameBrandon Thomas Betterman, Petitioner v. Montana
Docket nos.14–1457
Citations578 U.S. ___ (more)
Opinion announcementOpinion announcement
Prior historyOn writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Montana
"The Sixth Amendment's speedy trial guarantee does not apply once a defendant has been found guilty at trial or has pleaded guilty to criminal charges."
Court membership
Chief Justice
John Roberts
Associate Justices
Anthony Kennedy · Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg · Stephen Breyer
Samuel Alito · Sonia Sotomayor
Elena Kagan
Case opinions
MajorityGinsburg, joined unanimously
ConcurrenceThomas, joined by Alito
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. VI

Betterman v. Montana, 578 U.S. ___ (2016), was a United States Supreme Court case which held that the right to a speedy trial does not guarantee the right to speedy sentencing. It was decided on May 19, 2016.[1]


Brandon T. Betterman was charged with an assault on a family member in 2011, but failed to show up at a Montana court room.[2] In April 2012, Betterman plead guilty to jumping bail. He spent 14 months in a county jail in Montana while waiting for his sentence. In the summer of 2013, the judge sentenced him to seven years in prison, with four years suspended.[3] Betterman ultimately appealed his case to the Supreme Court of the United States, where argued that holding him in the county jail for 14 months violated his constitutional rights, because the right to a speedy trial guaranteed under the Speedy Trial Clause of the Sixth Amendment extended to speedy sentencing.[2]

Opinion of the Court[edit]

In a unanimous 8–0 ruling, the Montana Supreme Court's decision was upheld. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the decision in an 11-page opinion.[3]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Saetveit, Kristin (2016). "Beyond Pollard: Applying the Sixth Amendment's Speedy Trial Right to Sentencing" (PDF). Stanford Law Review. 68 (2): 481–509.

External links[edit]