Is a Three Year Delay in Sentencing Too Long?

According to this interesting article, a federal judge has recently set the sentencing date for four plant managers convicted of environmental and safety crimes on April 26, 2006. The sentencings are now set for April 24, 2009 — nearly three years later.

It is not clear what has caused the delay. Federal prosecutors filed a motion in December to speed things up. They argued that the sentencing delay affected public perception of justice. They also cited the Crime Victims' Rights Act, which promises crime victims that they have a right to a trial "free from unreasonable delay." The case involves a forklift accident at a foundry that killed a plant worker.

It's hard for me to imagine what could reasonably cause a three-year delay in sentencing.

Update: Here is a copy of the Government's "Motion to Set a Sentencing Date Pursuant to the Crime Victims' Rights Act." The Government's claim:

More than two and one-half years have now elapsed since the jury in this case convicted these Defendants of multiple, serious crimes. Several of those offenses related to Defendants’ systematic deception and obstruction of OSHA after Atlantic States employees were killed or maimed at the facility. Among the many concerns the Government has regarding delay of sentencing – including loss of trial participants, public perception, and absence of witnesses in the event of retrial – is the right of crime victims to proceedings free from unreasonable delay as mandated by the Crime Victims’Rights Act. See 18 U.S.C. § 3771(a)(7). It is clear from the Act that its terms apply during the sentencing phase of the court proceedings. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 3771(a)(4). Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3771(d)(1), the Government may assert the rights set forth under 18 U.S.C. § 3771(a), including the right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay. The district court shall take up and decide such motion forthwith. 18 U.S.C. § 3771(d)(3).

Based on the delay, the Government asked for a sentencing date to be set "promptly."