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Criminal Trial Process

The criminal process was significantly altered during the latter portion of 2010 and 2011.The Court recognized that the majority of the 4,500 criminal cases entering the system were being resolved through non- trial dispositions. After examining the expenses associated with the case continuances and the limited relationship between summoning jurors and trial ready cases, the Court began to focus on the Arraignment / Pre-Trial Conference period as the earliest point a case could be reviewed for potential conclusion. The Court with the assistance of the District Attorney, Public defender and private defense counsel have established a record of resolving an average of eighty percent (80%) of the cases that are referred to the Court of Common Pleas. This has permitted early resolution of the less serious cases while permitting the remaining members of the Court to direct their attention to preparing the more difficult cases to trial.

In addition substantial changes were made to the Driving Under the Influence procedures, requiring all those arrested for DUI either apply for the ARD or ASP programs at the Arraignment/ Pre Trial process. Those requesting a trial are given a specific date to appear. The modification of the criminal process has improved the efficiency of dispositions, minimized county expense with respect to case processing and limited the number of citizens being called to serve on jury duty.

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