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Settlement Could Cut Down Trial Delays At Bronx Criminal Court

August 09, 2018 - 8:34 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- After years of exceedingly long wait times for court appearances at Bronx Criminal Court, a settlement has emerged that looks to start speeding things up.

As WCBS 880's Steve Burns reported Thursday evening, the Constitution guarantees you a right to a speedy trial. But how speedy is it in the Bronx?

"At the time, that we filed the case, the average delay for a non-jury trial in the Bronx was 642 days," said attorney Jennifer Brown of the law firm Morrison and Foerster.

She said it was even longer if you wanted a jury. People would take off work and arrange for child care, only to get their case postponed over and over because there was no judge, court officer, or even open courtroom available.

"(It) would often lead people ultimately to give up on going to trial and take a plea," Brown said.

A settlement in the class action suit against the state means groups like the nonprofit Bronx Defenders will be keeping an eye on what happens at the Bronx Criminal Court.

"The settlement requires the court system to supply various data to the plaintiffs that will enable us to keep track of whether progress is continuing, or whether it stalls out as it has in the past," Brown said.