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July 17, 2007

Sentencing issues slowing the pace of federal justice in NYC

New York Newsday has this interesting piece explaining why "[j]ustice may be certain but it isn't swift in New York City's federal courts."  Here are snippets that highlight the impact of sentencing realities:

A flood of informants β€” particularly those involved in the mob β€” as well as death penalty and complex fraud indictments have contributed to a sharp increase in the length of time it takes to complete federal cases, according to judges and legal experts.  Adding to the delays have been new federal legislation making pretrial discovery more lengthy and U.S. Supreme Court rulings about the controversial federal sentencing guidelines, the experts said....

The special dynamics of federal death penalty cases, including rigorous jury selection and pretrial investigation, are believed to be contributing to Brooklyn's increase in case-processing time.  So far this calendar year, there have been four death penalty trials, with four others looming.  "Do I think it [the death penalty] affects the time?  Yeah, no question about it," said Chief Judge Raymond Dearie, who is the administrative judge for Brooklyn federal court. "Sometimes you don't get around to setting a trial date for two or three years."

July 17, 2007 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

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