Thursday, February 19, 2009

Backlog in Providence Superior Court

The Providence Journal reports that Providence Superior Court's presiding justice, Joseph F. Rodgers Jr., "is farming Providence County civil trials out to judges in the neighboring county to help relieve a backlog of cases that is stretching out several months and clogging the system." Sharon McCaughey, project coordinator of the scheduling office, said the wait for "proceedings to begin has grown to two months or more." Rogers noted that the Court is down one judge since May and another is not available for the trial pool because he is retiring next month. Because "the system is short a magistrate," Rodgers must assign another judge to handle scheduling, too. "Miriam Weizenbaum, president of Rhode Island Association for Justice, said trial delays and the lag in appointing judges are robbing the state of money." Still, "there can be some hesitancy about moving civil litigation to more suburban courts," and Rogers acknowledges "a perception that jurors in other counties are not as generous and that those in urban areas tend to be less affluent and more sympathetic to lawsuits."

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