The coronavirus pandemic is going to have a lasting impact on the court system in Connecticut and across the country long after it comes to an end. Nearly 12 months into the pandemic, thousands of cases are on hold in Connecticut civil and criminal courts. Once the courts reopen fully, there will be a backlog of cases to hear, leading to thousands of inmates waiting for months on end to have a fair trial, and for personal injury victims to be awarded the justice and compensation they deserve.
Why the delay?
The delay in hearing court cases is not as simple as one all-encompassing answer. There are multiple factors that have gone into shuttering the courts in Connecticut. These factors include the following:
- Court employees are working from home
- Lack of technology available in the courts
- Restrictions put in place by Governor Ned Lamont
Regarding the technology factor leading to cases being delayed: Courtrooms in Connecticut have a limited number of computers to use for virtual court hearings. In a normal year, the courts hear hundreds of cases each month. With larger trials lasting anywhere from four to six weeks apiece, only a few trials are being held each month because of this lack of technology in the courtrooms.
A miscarriage of justice
The American people are guaranteed a fair and speedy trial, but this guarantee has been thrown out the window because of the pandemic. Now, people accused of a crime are sitting in jail cells waiting for months on end for a hearing or for their case to go to trial. Does this mean that more and more defendants will simply plead guilty to the charges levied against them, even if they didn’t commit the crime, in order to have closure regarding their situation? This situation is a complete miscarriage of justice for anyone accused of a crime that requires jail time.
Civil cases are affected too
Delays in court hearings in Connecticut are not just impacting the criminal sector. Civil cases, like personal injury claims, are also on hold right now. Will this delay force personal injury plaintiffs to simply settle their case for less than what they truly deserve? Only time will tell, but it’s likely that many plaintiffs will settle their cases outside of court because they need the money immediately to pay their bills, especially if their injury prevents them from working.
Civil and criminal cases are in a major backlog throughout the Connecticut court system right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, that backlog will only continue to grow as crime never sleeps. The backlog of cases will not disappear when the courts fully reopen.
If you have a criminal or civil court case pending, it’s important that you speak to the team at Barry & Barall, LLC. Call our office at 860-649-4400, or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation. Our team represents clients throughout Hartford, Manchester, and the surrounding areas.
Attorney Ryan P. Barry’s civil practice focuses on personal injury, commercial litigation, workers’ compensation defense, municipal law, and NCAA investigations. Attorney Barry is also a seasoned criminal litigator, having handled hundreds of cases in Connecticut’s state and federal courts. Learn More