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Trial Suspensions Create Back Log of 30 UC Homicide Cases

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Trial Suspensions Create Back Log of 30 UC Homicide Cases

The 13th Judicial District has a back log of about 30 homicide cases awaiting trial with jury trials not reopening until February 26th.

District Attorney Bryant Dunaway said trials being rescheduled can cause frustration for all parties involved.

“The victims in the case are certainly frustrated and the victim’s families because of the delays,” Dunaway said. “The defendant I’m sure is also a bit frustrated, and we certainly are. It is in everybody’s interest, especially the victims of crimes, for cases to move along as quickly as possible through the system.”

Dunaway said as sentences are handed out, more crimes take place, so serious crime cases becoming even more delayed is a concern.

“Just taking those homicides if we do have to trial each one of those and no pleas are entered in those cases, it would take some time to catch up with those cause keeping in mind, we still have serious violent crimes occurring on a weekly basis in the district,” Dunaway said. “As we resolve cases, new cases are coming into the system at the same time. It is a concern to us that serious filing cases have been backed up.”

Dunaway said not all of these cases will be trailed as some pleas in first degree murder cases will occur very soon.

“We will get through it,” Dunaway said. “We are still negotiating those cases. The murder cases and other homicide cases are being negotiated. We anticipate entering pleas for some first degree murder cases very soon. So, not all of them will have to be trialed.”

As for Grand Juries, court dockets and constitutional rights, Dunaway said the district is handling the workload.

“As for as the day to day proceedings, we are just maintaining,” Dunaway said. “While there has been a suspension made by the (Tennessee) Supreme Court of carrying out in-person proceedings where people are not in jail until February 26th and jury trials are suspended until February 26th, we are still handling the dockets. We are still staffing the docket. We are just only handling at this time the cases where people are incarcerated or cases and proceedings that address a constitutional right.”

Dunaway said cases where defendants are not in custody or on bond will resume February 26th.


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