The Augusta Chronicle reports cases are moving through Richmond County Superior Courts much faster than in years gone by. A new system implemented at the direction of the GA Supreme Court has judges working more efficiently and ensuring criminal defendants are getting through the system in a more reasonable amount of time.
Cases that took an average of 494 days to move from indictment to completion in 1997 and only 161 days in 2008. This is a serious improvement on a system that was bogged down and backlogged with cases. The criminal justice system as a whole is overwhelmed with a large number of cases and limited people to move them through.
Richmond County judges used to work on a calendar system that was in rotation. This meant that you might have one judge arraign you, another try you, and yet another sit at your sentencing. Not only did this broken system move slower, there was not continuity in a defendant’s case.
Now, however, one judge follows their cases from beginning to end. They are responsible for their caseload and getting cases through the system in a more efficient manner.
Another telling nugget of information from the Augusta Chronicle’s report is the results of their analysis of the Richmond County cases from last year. It’s no surprise that theft cases represent the majority of indictments. Theft cases run the gamut from shoplifting to car theft.
Faster moving cases means people’s faith in the system is higher. When people believe the criminal justice system is working on their behalf, the system actually works better. Because of the crime rate paired with budget restraints, the courts will always seem crowded and busy but making them work efficiently is the challenge that this new calendar system seems to address.