In an order dated today and to be released later today, a consortium of Dade Judges are announcing a pilot project to stagger court starting times to alleviate courthouse crowding, parking issues, witness issues, juror issues, and even attorney issues.
To summarize, ten circuit criminal courts and two country criminal courts will start at 1:30 PM.
The order reasons that "after careful study there is a need to start some courts in the early afternoon. This will allow prosecutors to meet with witnesses in the morning at more convenient times, rather than trying to squeeze in seeing them in the early evening after court has concluded… many jurors surveyed indicated that their mornings are busy with child and work issues and if they had to time to spend the morning on personal issues that they could devote the rest of the day to trials. Additionally, an aging courthouse and parking issues and the problems they cause would be immediately alleviated with a significant number of individuals not entering the courthouse during the morning rush. "
How will this new schedule be implemented? By choice. Attorneys or clients will simply request "afternoon court" on their pleadings and the cases will be set in the afternoon. Pro se clients in county court will call into a special number and will be guided through an automated system that will schedule their arraignment and all other hearings in the afternoon.
The order concludes with this: "The market place will decide the effectiveness of this new system. If afternoon court works for a substantial number of litigants, then the numbers will tell the story."
Rumpole says: this is a long time coming and the date of this order is perfect for its implementation.
See you in court in the afternoon.
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