More than 90 percent of Richmond, Va., homicide cases have resulted in convictions this year–44 out of 47–reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Contributing factors are the police department’s reinvigorated, dedicated homicide team, young energetic prosecutors who juggle as many as five cases at a time, and a new police chief who lets detectives do their thing without interference.
“What we’re trying to do is not only up the number of convictions, but up the number of cases we try,” said prosecutor Learned Barry. Prosecutors are as important to the investigative team as the detectives are. They often get paged to come to homicide scenes in the middle of the night. They sit in on interviews with witnesses. They shape their cases with police. They help compile evidence. After an arrest, it takes an average of five months for the case to go to trial.