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Felony Justice in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court: A Research Report by the Metropolitan Crime Commission

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1999
28 pages
This is a descriptive overview of the context and process of felony justice in Louisiana's Orleans Parish Criminal District Court (CDC); this study of the felony docket revisits the same court process addressed in both its September 1996 and March 1998 reports.
The three performance areas evaluated were case processing time, compliance with American Bar Association time standards, and inventory of cases. The study findings are based on a random sample of 25 percent of all felony cases that closed in each section of court during 1998. The records maintained by the Orleans Parish Clerk of Criminal District Court were the principal source of information for the research. Findings show that for the second year in a row, the research shows little indication that CDC has made any significant progress toward gaining overall control of its difficult felony docket. Although the research on the felony docket in CDC in 1998 showed improvement in selected areas of the court's caseflow process -- most notably a 27-percent decrease in case-processing time for the court as a whole -- achievements were largely offset by an increase in the number of cases pending adjudication. The findings of this year's research indicate once again the need for aggressive action. The continued absence of any targeted policies or procedures designed to address the court's overall case-processing performance will result in the continued deterioration of the felony docket. The study recommends that the court adopt more stringent and formal docket-management policies and procedures. This will require a concerted effort at administration and will likely require a redefinition of the duties of some of the court's administrative staff. The judges en banc, under the leadership of the chief judge, should review the various formal and informal policies and procedures currently in place that govern felony caseflow and then enhance, modify, or replace them as appropriate. For the March 1998 research report, see NCJ-180242. 63 exhibits