We have accumulated a significant backlog of criminal cases in our district court due to the complex challenges that have crippled our ability to schedule sessions of district criminal court over the last two years. The District Attorney’s Office, Defense Bar and the court have adapted practices to the moment, and we have acquired new ways of doing business that create 1) more meaningful court events, 2) court date certainty and 3) timely case resolution. These are the principles of court administration that should persist in our case management practices beyond the pandemic. They have shaped previous efforts to improve case-flow, but the structure of the court has not supported past efforts. Our success is attributable to changes in the structure of district criminal court. Last month, Administrative Order (22 R 761) was entered to strategically implement these practices in the 26th Judicial District’s Criminal Case Management Plan for District Court.
The next phase involves the scheduling of cases in Courtrooms 1130 and 1150. The following outlines recent changes to scheduling in both courtrooms:
Misdemeanor first appearance hearings for out-of-custody defendants and traffic first appearance hearings will be scheduled in Courtroom 1130 beginning at 9:00AM.
As of June 13, 2022, probable cause hearings were moved from Courtroom 1130 to the afternoon session in Courtroom 1150 beginning at 1:30PM. Felony bond hearings are also heard during the afternoon session in Courtroom 1150.
Felony first appearance hearings and misdemeanor first appearance hearings for in-custody defendants will be heard in Courtroom 1150 beginning at 9:00AM. As of June 20, 2022, out-of-custody defendants with an 1150A first appearance must appear in person on the scheduled date in Courtroom 1150 to address counsel and receive future court dates. Domestic violence no-bond cases are scheduled on the WebA docket for first appearance and are prioritized to be heard first beginning at 9:00AM. Family members and victims may appear in Courtroom 1150 for WebA domestic violence no-bond cases.