Courts in New York City’s Bronx borough are failing, says the New York Times in the first of a three-part series. With criminal cases languishing for years, a plague of delays is undermining the promise of a speedy trial. At a time of slashed judicial budgets across the U.S., the Bronx shows what happens when an overwhelmed justice system can’t keep pace: Old cases pile up, prosecutions fail at alarming rates, lives stall while waiting for court hearings and trust in the system and its ability to protect the public evaporates.
In the Bronx, there have been more people in jail waiting years for their trials than in the rest of the city combined show. The borough was responsible for more than half of the cases in New York City's criminal courts that were over two years old, and for two-thirds of the defendants waiting for their trials in jail for more than five years. In January, 73 percent of Bronx felony cases exceeded the courts' own time targets, far more than any other borough.