A new rule that would allow Kentucky judges to dismiss felony cases that are at least a year old has been endorsed by Kentucky Chief Justice Joseph Lambert, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. Designed to ensure that cases don’t languish, the rule was proposed at a meeting of trial judges. The formation of the judges’ group was one of three steps Lambert took in response to The Courier-Journal series “Justice Delayed, Justice Denied,” which found that some felony cases had lingered for decades in Kentucky’s criminal justice system in part because of a lack of oversight. Lambert required every county to ensure that each pending criminal case has a subsequent appearance date assigned, and that any continuance has a subsequent date for trial.
The Administrative Office of the Courts said recently that nearly 18,000 of approximately 27,000 pending criminal cases in the state had been disposed of from late October to mid-May “as a result of increased attention” by judges. The Courier-Journal found that more than 600 criminal cases have been dismissed since 1995 in Franklin County alone after lying dormant for years without attention from prosecutors or the courts.