Report Finds Numerous Stanislaus County Court Cases Waiting Over Five Years for Trial

It also revealed a court backlog that may well indicate a broken system.

The Modesto Bee reported this past Saturday that Stanislaus County currently has 18 cases past the five-year mark and remarked that “justice seems stuck in low gear in Stanislaus courts.”

Of 17 counties providing data, Stanislaus was revealed to have a massively disproportionate number of homicide cases pending, on par with larger counties like San Diego and Sacramento.

Searching for a cause bore no fruit, as Stanislaus’ crime stats are actually lower than its neighboring counties, Merced and San Joaquin. A check into legal personnel also came up nil, as Merced County gets by with fewer prosecutors and Stanislaus judges handle fewer filings than the majority of their colleagues statewide.

The situation is so grim that Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini said, “…The old joke is having your sentence changed from the death penalty to life in court.”

Jokes aside, an explanation is required.

District Attorney Birgit Fladager lays blame on a now decade old change in the court routing system for creating the backlog over the past 10 years.

Another possible reason is the budget situation over at Stanislaus courts, which carries a $26 million budget that should employ 283, but currently only staffs 240.

No respite is coming in the near future either, as the arrest of defense attorney Frank Carson will require his 71 pending cases to be reassigned to other attorneys who will then need time to catch up on that casework.

In addition to the money required to care for those waiting for trial, those involved with any pending case ultimately desire some closure.

The Modesto Bee’s report can be found here in its entirety.