NYC Court Backlog Shrinks; Is Plea Bargaining Out of Hand?


Justice Patricia DiMango, transferred from the New York borough of Brooklyn to the Bronx to clear a backlog of felony cases that the New York Times say had swelled to crisis proportions, has used a brash style and forceful personality to cut by 40 percent the backlog of cases over two years old. The success underscored how bad things had become in the Bronx County Hall of Justice.

New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman promised in January to eliminate the backlog in six months “if not sooner.” With that deadline passed, the borough's number of cases more than two years old remains the largest in New York City. The effort has required compromises like allowing a defendant accused of attempted murder to plead guilty to misdemeanor assault. That provoked grumbling that statistics were being pursued at the cost of justice, a claim court officials sharply deny.

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