Conducted between 1:39 PM and 1:45 PM, June 29th, 2021.
Out of twelve circuit felony courtrooms checked, there were three in use on a Tuesday afternoon.
Circuit judges have been able to set in-person hearings since Monday of last week, for both in-custody and out of custody hearings.
Morning dockets have been running smoothly since the partial reopening began, although many judges, circuit and county, seem to be concluding early in the morning, or well before noon. Judges have also been sorting out scheduling issues due to the large volume of cases previously noticed for Zoom.
Busy lawyers working in other courtrooms are being called to courtrooms where some judges’ dockets are concluding far too early. In some instances, cases are being reset when lawyers are unavailable, begging the question, how can taxpayer funded judges be less busy than attorneys given the historic case backlog and desperate conditions created by the pandemic?
The full reopening starts after July 6th. Let’s hope fighting to get cases on dockets will be a thing of the past, and that all types of hearings will be heard on both morning and afternoon sessions. Judges with less to do should also be encouraged to assist busier judges and share workloads. In the meantime, we’ll be sure to monitor both county and circuit courtrooms while the Supreme Court continues to actively direct the lower courts to cut through the backlog, to ensure the 17th Circuit is properly managing scarce court resources.