Because the pandemic paused jury trials, many defendants will have spent more time jailed pretrial than incarcerated for their sentence, The Washington Post reports. As courts delayed jury trials due to COVID-19, many people accused of violent crimes were released from jail on pending cases. But others remained behind bars for more time than their eventual sentence, and the loosening of health restrictions means courts must now decide how to prioritize cases.
Although prison populations declined during the pandemic’s early days, they crept back up because fewer prisoners have been released, said Prof. Jenny E. Carroll of the University of Alabama School of Law. Some 582 people were detained awaiting trial in D.C. Superior Court on felony charges as of mid-June. Most are accused of violent crimes, though over 100 are being held on drug or gun possession charges. Chief Judge Anita M. Josey-Herring said the court will prioritize scheduling trials for people accused of lesser offenses. D.C. federal court is also experiencing a backlog driven by the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. About four dozen of those defendants are in custody, and some of their attorneys have said they will spend more time in jail before trial than they will receive if convicted and sentenced. Of these cases, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols said “there’s going to be a lot of pressure on the system if the pleas don’t start to move.”
via The Crime Report https://ift.tt/2myW3Gx
June 28, 2021 at 09:56AM