"Speedy Trial" Rules
Every state (and many localities) has rules, either statutory or court mandated, regarding how much time should or may elapse between key events in the processing of a delinquency case. In their best iterations, these case processing expectations establish how long the system has to accomplish certain tasks, as well as the consequences for failing to meet those timeframes. Youth in detention, as well as youth in detention alternative programs, should be handled more quickly than youth who are at liberty. Most statutes and court rules reflect this prioritization for detained cases, but it is rare for states to explicitly codify that cases of youth in alternative-to-detention programs should be treated as if they are in custody.
And while court scheduling and adjournment practices may not appear likely areas for demographically disparate treatment, such differences are nonetheless possible. For this reason, disaggregating length of stay and other related case processing data by demographic variables can help to uncover unintended disparities.