The New York City legal system has more than 39,000 pending criminal cases after trials were postponed in February, the city confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Trials by jury were postponed, prosecutions decreased as officials aimed to decrease the incarcerated population and various hearings were held virtually, The New York Times reported.
“Because of the pandemic pending matters in New York City Criminal Court are 39,200 cases. Of those about 12,000 are felonies awaiting transfer to Supreme Court for further action,” New York State Courts director of public information Lucia Chalfen told the DCNF.
“This compares to a normal pending caseload of about 27,000 cases awaiting disposition in the Country’s busiest Criminal Court,” Chalfen added.
“The whole idea of ‘12 Angry Men’ screaming at each other over a telephone, over a Zoom network, would be ridiculous.” Will we ever have jury trials again? @alanfeuer @nicole_hong @Jan_Ransom and I look at New York’s courts and the pandemic. https://t.co/CFt9Y0xUaJ
— Benjamin Weiser (@BenWeiserNYT) June 22, 2020
Protests in New York City resulted in a large number of arrests that overwhelmed the legal system, the Times reported. The nationwide protests followed the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a former Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, according to video of the incident.
“It’s a situation we’ve just never seen before,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz told the Times. Though court is held virtually, over the last two weeks some Judges have returned to their chambers, the paper reported.
Prosecutor’s office staff returned as court officials increased the amount of virtual indictments, the Times reported. It was a “crisis within a crisis,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James M. Burke said, according to the Times. (RELATED: ‘If We Can’t Sleep You Won’t Sleep’: Hundreds Protest Outside Gracie Mansion After Firework Complaints Soar)
Trials in New York state were deferred after the state’s speedy trial law was suspended by Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March, the Times reported.
The New York Police Department and Cuomo did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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