Although only one jury trial may be conducted each week at the Criminal Justice Center, once the mandate is lifted we can get back to three trials per week. Most attorneys have multiple jury trial cases stacked up due to the COVID restrictions in place. Now that we can set them for trial, we are placing our most serious charged clients on the trial dockets. I personally have 4 murder cases specially set up through April, 2022. I would have preferred to have tried at least 3 of them by this point in time, but the courts would not allow it. I anticipate a slow reduction in trial ready cases when we get to next fall. Up until that point in time I believe we may be trying two cases each month. It may not sound like a lot of work to conduct that many cases each month. But trust me, it is. My average trial preparation takes a minimum of 40 hours. This includes organizing the file for trial presentation, exhibit copies, subpoenas, witness prep, jury instructions, motions, and continuing all other matters for the week the trial is set. Some cases don't require that much time such a DUI. But most felonies will take at least that amount of time to prepare. I fortunately have younger attorneys that want to assist me in trials. Some want the experience and some want to learn how I conduct trials. I welcome the offers of assistance.
I do see trials bottlenecking in the near future. We have many defendants in my count charged with very serious offenses. They are impatient since they have been forced to remain in custody for so long that they will announce ready for trial. When that occurs there will be too many trials approaching the speedy trial limits that must be tried or dismissed. The court is only allowing one jury trial per week. It is easy to see how that problem could overwhelm the system.