Robert Gondor and Randy Resh waited nearly a year for the Ohio Supreme Court to free them after 16 years in prison for a rape and murder they say they did not commit, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The court found enough flaws in their 1990 convictions to order new trials. Resh was acquitted, and the prosecutor dropped Gondor’s case. At the oral argument, all seven justices “were clearly disturbed by the convictions, yet it took a unanimous court, with no dissents and no separate concurrences, 11 months to come back with a decision,” said attorney Jim Owen, who represented Resh.
The Plain Dealer calculated that the length of time it took to turn out majority decisions increased from an average of five months per case in 2004 to seven months last year. Chief Justice Thomas Moyer acknowledges that the pace has been a rising concern for him and a source of finger-pointing among the justices. It’s an issue that he is helpless to control. The justices took more than 300 days to return 16 of their 130 majority opinions last year from cases argued before them. A few states have voluntary time standards for supreme courts to dispose of a case, Florida requires decisions within 180 days from the time the case is argued; Hawaii’s standard is one year and Louisiana’s is six weeks.