Friday, January 8, 2010

You do what, again?

Everyone knows we go to trial. No surprise there. But I tried five cases last year, none lasting more than a week. And they paid me for more than five weeks' of work, so I must have been doing something, right?

Right. It's called docket.

Trouble is, when I use that word, eyes glaze over. Docket. It sounds like a boring word, a lawyerly, uninteresting, dry piece of paper with... something on it about... someone. What the hell IS a docket, anyway?

Glad you asked. Because I'm in there, Monday-Friday on non jury weeks, and Monday AND Friday on jury trial weeks.

Overview: docket is when ADAs and defense lawyer meet in court to discuss cases set that day. Some are pled out there and then, some are set for trial (by judge or jury), and some are set for hearings (for example, a motion to suppress evidence).

Take these stats that I compiled (just for you, mind) from a morning docket from earlier this week (bear in mind there are five ADAs assigned just to our court), That morning, the docket consisted of:

55 defendants with 66 cases (probably obvious, but some defendants have more than one case pending against them)

Of these, I am responsible for: 19 defendants with 23 cases

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

DWI (3rd offense)
1. defense atty didn't show up, reset
2. reset so defense counsel could view police video tape
3. reset for defense counsel to gather evidence
4. reset-- recently indicted case, both sides doing discovery
5. agreement reached, defendant pled guilty

1. negotiated with defense counsel, reset
2. as above

Agg Assault with deadly weapon
1. reset so I could contact victim
2. as above
3. as above

Attempted burglary of habitation
1. reset so I could contact victim

Assault causing injury to family member
1. defense lawyer showed up late, case reset

Possession of marijuana
1. plea deal reached, reset for sentencing

Possession of controlled substance
1. case only recently indicted, reset for both sides to conduct discovery
2. agreement reached, defendant pled guilty
3. agreement reached, case reset for probation to prepare report
4. case reset for more discovery
5. case reset for more discovery
6. as above
7. as above

Attempted arson
1. reset for both sides to do discovery/gather evidence

I think I got my math right, and that's all the cases.
Let me know if this is interesting or not, if so I might do it once a month or so. If not, I won't. :)


  1. Okay-- help me out here. What do the numbers mean underneath each crime?

    And what is "reset"? I know what it means in, say video games, but not sure as a legal term.

    I bet it'll be even more interesting once I fully understand it. =)

  2. Sure, sorry for being unclear.
    A case being "reset" means that it is simply crossed off the list, the docket, for that day, and put on a docket later in the month, or sometimes later that week. It means, essentially, "Done for today, thank you." But it's not yest disposed of.

    And under each offense is the number of those types of cases I had that day. So I had one attempted arson, and 7 possession of controlled substance cases.

    Hope that makes sense!

  3. Yep-- that clears it up! Thanks!

  4. 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.



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