Archive for June, 2006

Assembly Line Justice

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

From the Rush to Judgment department:

Resolving DUI Cases Faster is Project's Goal Attorneys group fears speed could lead to injustice

Tucson, AZ May 27. The wheels of justice turn slowly. At least that's what they say. Well, when it comes to driving under the influence, the Arizona Supreme Court is trying to speed up those wheels. On July 1, nearly a dozen justice and municipal courts — including Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts — will embark on a pilot project aimed at resolving 90 percent of all DUI cases within four months and 98 percent within six months…

"Justice delayed may be justice denied, but expediency without regard to fairness will produce injustice," Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice wrote in response to the committee's recommendations. "We must continually guard against assembly-line justice, in which the court's concern for case management is placed ahead of fundamental fairness."

Delays are often completely out of the attorneys' hands, (AACJ President Joseph) St. Louis said. It takes 45 to 60 days to get blood tests back from the state crime lab, because it is often overwhelmed by requests, St. Louis said. Until those tests come back, defense attorneys can't interview chemists, investigate the lab and its equipment, or file pretrial motions.

Also, according to St. Louis, there is only one competent DUI defense expert in the state, and with so many defense attorneys trying to hire him, scheduling trials is difficult…

Don't you wonder why only DUI cases are being targeted for assembly line justice? Why not fast-track murder cases? Rape? Child molesting? Why not all criminal cases?

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