Saturday, August 11, 2018

Speedy Trials Return to a Bronx Court Known for Delays and Dysfunction

People facing misdemeanor charges in the Bronx will have the ability to make a formal request to have their cases tracked for a speedy trial under a court settlement signed on Thursday between the state court system and defendants who filed a class-action suit over intractable delays and dysfunction in the Bronx Criminal Court system.

The Bronx Defenders had sued in 2016 on behalf of several defendants who claimed the endemic delays in resolving misdemeanor cases in the Bronx violated their constitutional right to a speedy trial.

“Waits for trial were so long that it effectively made the right to a trial meaningless,” said Scott Levy, a special counsel at the Bronx Defenders and one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

The settlement of the case, Trowbridge et al v. DiFiore, was signed on Thursday afternoon by attorneys from the Bronx Defenders and the New York attorney general’s office. It mandates that the courts produce quarterly reports about how long cases are taking to resolve and establishes a formal process to request a speedy trial for defendants whose cases are languishing.

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