Swift justice is the hallmark of a new court in New York City’s Manhattan borough called the quality-of-life part because only accusations of minor, nonviolent offenses are sent there, says the New York Times The court, which prosecutors and court officials created this year, is part of a larger effort to relieve court dockets that have long been overloaded. Clogged court calendars can hamper the prosecution of a case and impinge on defendants' rights.
The changes seem to be having an impact: the pending caseload in Manhattan Criminal Court is down nearly 20 percent from two years ago, and prosecutors are seeking the dismissal of far fewer cases because of missed deadlines. Some defense lawyers say the new measures, do not necessarily help their clients. In fact, some say, prosecutors are less generous with plea offers and at times force their clients into trials. The strides made toward unclogging the courts could soon be tested as hundreds of the more than 900 Occupy Wall Street protesters who had been arrested threaten to take their cases to trial. Dozens of those arrested are scheduled to appear in court for the first time today.