Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Docket report

I thought it might be time for another Docket Report, a look at the cases on yesterday's court docket. The previous one, for comparison, is here.

But first a quick response to Steve, who asked this after the first docket report a couple of weeks ago:

What is interesting to me is how many of the cases are "reset". I thought these defendants had to be prepared by the court appearance date. Some of these must drag on for some time until resolved. Most interesting. Quite the workload.

You are right in that most are reset. Resolving a case requires the ADA and the defense lawyer to have a meeting of the minds, so imagine a triangle where the lawyers start at "He's guilty of the crime charged and deserves a prison sentence" and "He's innocent and should be released," respectively.

They share evidence and information and their positions change to something more like, "He's guilty of the crime charged but deserves a long probation" and "He might plead guilty to a lesser charge if he gets a short probation." And so on, until they finally meet at the tip of the triangle. Or go to trial if no agreement can be reached.

As for the defendants being "prepared," they do have to be present at each court setting so when, as you note, cases take a long time to resolve, I have no doubt it can be frustrating.

Now, yesterday's docket, a light one for me as it turned out:

50 defendants with 73 cases (as before some defendants had more than one case pending against them)

Of these, I am responsible for: 7 defendants with 8 cases

Here's a breakdown of my cases, what they were, and what happened to each:

Possession of controlled substance:
1. Reset for my plea offer to be conveyed to defendant
2. Reset for suppression hearing

Aggravated robbery:
1. Reset by defense counsel
2. Pled guilty to robbery, received probation

DWI 3rd:
1. Dismissed (because defendant pled guilty to intoxication assault)

Intoxication assault:
1. Pled guilty, received probation

1. Pled guilty, received jail time


  1. Not sure if its intentional or not, but you forgot to mention to Steve how the State isn't always "prepared" at each setting. I'm sure DAC is an exception and never asks for continuances, but in other courts, especially the county courts in the very same building, sometimes its the defendant that's begging for a trial and either: 1) the State's not ready or 2) the court's jury trial calendar is so backed up that three and four year old cases are just now coming up for trial. In the second scenerio, which is incredibly, and criminally some might think, common, the judge and the chief prosecutor in that court deserve most of the blame, it appears.

  2. Thanks for the input anon, I'm going to make my response a full one, which I'll post next Tuesday. If you can stand to wait...!
    Any other questions I can answer then?

  3. Thanks for the interesting answer to my question. Clears things up. My take is that the heavy workload contributes to some degree.

    Great blog. Keep posting.


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