Dallas County Officials Extend Felony Trial Wait Time as Incarceration Rates Remain High

Backlog of court cases contributed to some inmates not getting a speedy trial, as well as a persistent high incarceration rate, resulting in cost overruns for the county’s taxpayers.

As of November 30, 2022, there were 39,059 felony cases under the funding proposal, passed unanimously on Tuesday. About 21,500 of them were active. Both figures are about 30% higher than on March 1, 2020.

“They are solving cases faster than they were before the pandemic, especially in the last 5 or 6 months,” Charles Reed, assistant county administrator, said during a court of commissioners meeting. “They just couldn’t close the gap.”

The felony trial will last until 2023 and cost nearly $3 million. The money comes from federal dollars to help local governments respond to COVID-19.

However, misdemeanors are a different story. The total misdemeanor count on November 30, 2022 was lower than on March 1, 2020. The number of active cases is slightly higher, but county officials continued to recommend that the misdemeanor court be closed.

Active cases are cases awaiting a final decision. In the case of inactive cases, the defendant is not available and the court cannot take further action.

Any advice? Email Bret Jaspers at [email protected] You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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