In Tennessee, the legal system has certain obligations that come into play when a suspect is arrested. One of the first requirements that fall upon a prosecutor right after the arrest is the duty to inform the suspect of the charges that they face in a timely manner. Usually, this must occur within 72 hours after the arrest.
This right comes from the Sixth Amendment, which is what gives defendants the right to a fair and speedy trial. In theory, the defendant must be given every opportunity to mount their best defense to the charges that they face. Here, by holding the suspect for an extended period of time after the arrest, prosecutors would be making it more difficult for the person to defend themselves in court. In addition, they would be effectively be sentencing the suspect to a jail sentence before they have been tried and convicted.
When the suspect has been held for a long time without being charged and arraigned, they can file a writ of habeas corpus with the court to persuade a judge that they are being unlawfully held. The judge may then order that the prosecutor release the suspect in order to protect their rights. Usually, prosecutors are well aware of the time elapsed since arrest, but some suspects may fall through the cracks and end up being held indefinitely.
A person who has been arrested faces a tall task in having to go through the criminal justice system. It is difficult for anyone, let alone a defendant who does not have knowledge of the law and process. A criminal defense attorney may help their client navigate the legal system as they face the charges and seek a resolution that brings closure to the situation.