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Judge trying to clear docket
A combined effort is reducing the extensive backlog of criminal cases in Jefferson County. Jefferson County District Attorney announced last week Judge Lindsey Scott completed 100 cases in a week's time.
Judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys are working together to make the docket manageable.
State District Judge Layne Walker left the bench at the end of 2013 leaving behind a backlog of cases and 58th District court judge Bob Wortham was asked to oversee the 252nd District court until the Governor appointed Judge Lindsey Scott to complete Walker's term.
Assistant District Attorney Rachel Grove says Judge Scott immediately put together an aggressive plan to clear the docket.
Grove says, "What that allowed us to do was that we were able to look at the cases..evaluate them..put offers in the files and bring them down to the court to get with the defense bar and see what we will do with these cases."
And that's keeping defense attorneys like James Makin very busy.
Makin says, "I don't think there's any one agency's, court's or judge's fault. It was a combination of a lot of reasons but they are moving very expeditiously to clear that up."
Wortham says there were 500 cases on the trial docket with over 250 people in jail awaiting trial.
"I was surprised to see so many people in jail for long long periods of time since they were arrested without a trial," Wortham states.
Grove says, "With the docket moving like it is we are going to be trying some of those older cases they'll be off the docket and those people can either go home or go to TDC," which clears the docket and the jail.