Speedy Trials? Not In These Bad Economic Times

Ken AshfordCourts/Law, Economy & Jobs & Deficit, Energy and ConservationLeave a Comment

This is bad:

The economic storm has come to this: Justice is being delayed or disrupted in state courtrooms across the country.

Financially strapped New Hampshire has become a poster child for the problem. Among other cost-cutting measures, state courts will halt for a month all civil and criminal jury trials early next year to save $73,000 in jurors' per diems. Officials warn they may add another four-week suspension.

"It brings our system almost to a screeching halt," said county prosecutor James M. Reams. His aides are scrambling to reschedule 77 criminal trials that were on the February docket.

Perhaps it saves $73,000 in jurors' per diems, but I imagine a lot of those savings will be eaten up by having to house criminals an extra month in prison.

Then again, if they do it in January and February, I'll bet they save a bundle on heating costs for the courthouses.