The Sixth Amendment states that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused has the right to a speedy trial. And throughout the country, speedy-trial laws are in place to guarantee that cases will begin within a certain time frame. However, New York’s version, known as the “ready rule,” is slightly different.
This rule stipulates that all felony cases (except homicides) must be ready for trial within 6 months of arraignment, or else the charges can be dismissed. But in reality, the 6-month time limit is often subject to “technicalities” and can be drastically increased.
In the new 6-part documentary series, TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, Spike and executive producers Harvey Weinstein and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, present Kalief’s story to the public. In what appears to be a gross abuse of the ready rule, Kalief spent 3 years at Riker’s Island prison, due to horrific circumstances beyond his control. Ultimately, the charges against Browder were dropped, and he was released without ever being convicted of a crime. However, after facing the trauma of incarceration, he was unable to readjust to life on the outside and tragically took his own life.
With this documentary, Spike invites viewers to take a closer look at the criminal justice system in this country. Although Browder can no longer speak for himself, through first-person accounts, archival footage, and exclusive interviews with his family and friends, his story will be shared with the world.
“Kalief Browder [was] a young man, who lost his life because of a broken system,” said Carter. “His tragedy has brought atrocities to light, and now we must confront the issues and events that occurred so other young men can have a chance at justice.”