Saturday, February 27, 2016

Here we go again

Is it any wonder that court dockets are clogged?

For example, Case No. 15CF000937 in the McHenry County Circuit Court (Woodstock, Ill.), People v. Brandon Napolitan.

Napolitan is accused of murdering Daryl Fox, 53, of Woodstock on October 10, 2015. Napolitan was pretty quickly identified and arrested in Wisconsin. The first court activity was November 9. Additional court dates have been Nov. 19, Dec. 4, 17, Jan. 7, Feb. 11, 26.

Napolitan has a Public Defender. What's interesting about this is that the State's Attorney (the Prosecutor) quickly requested a jury trial on Dec. 4. Isn't it the defense that normally requests a jury trial?

Why would the prosecution request a court date? Is it so the three-ring circus act can prepare? Will it be the standard arm-flapping, shouting and exaggerations designed to unduly influence the jury? For sure, Judge Prather would not be swayed by lawyers' rhetoric. While a jury is told that nothing said by the attorneys is "evidence", how will it separate the dog-and-pony show from the evidence, of which they seems to be plenty.

When Judge Prather "routinely" grants a 30-day continuance, does she ever ask the attorney requesting it (whether prosecution or defense attorney) exactly what he (or she) has done in the previous 30 days? Or does she just have a "30 Days" rubber stamp that gets a good work-out by her clerk?

Judges should demand to know exactly what was done, before they give either attorney another continuance. In other words, call a halt to unnecessary delays. It's no surprise that a mental health evaluation was sought. Guess what Napolitan's plea with be. Anyone?

So, get on with the evaluation.

And set a date for a jury trial. Why do judges let matters drag on and on and finally, months (or longer) after the start of court activity, get around to setting a court date, which is then months afterwards.

What would it be like if Judge Prather said, "OK, we are going to have a trial in three months. Ready, set, go!"

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