As was previously reported, the Courts have been shut down to a large degree and the Courthouse has been closed to foot traffic. Like the other County offices, the Clarke County Attorney’s Office has continued to do as much of our work as we can without direct public contact. However, as public hearings are an essential element of criminal due process, this presents quite a challenge. At this point Iowa’s Judicial Branch has declared there is good cause to temporarily waive speedy trial deadlines and recently extended the prohibition against criminal jury trials until September 14th. This office has been making extra efforts to resolve cases without criminal litigation whenever possible. In every case, we make plea offers to Defense attorneys or Defendants and we try to resolve cases without trials or hearings if at all possible. In several instances our offers have been accepted and we have been able to resolve cases. However, trial by jury is an important constitutional right and Defendants sometimes insist on trials for even minor infractions. That is their right.
In terms of May’s workload, 1 Felony case came in and 1 was disposed. Felony cases are the most serious of criminal cases. The number of pending Felony cases is steady at 84.
Indictable Misdemeanors are Misdemeanor crimes that are punishable by more than a year but no more than two years of incarceration. Misdemeanor crimes are categorized as Aggravated, Serious, and Simple. Aggravated Misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanors and can be punished by up to two years in prison. Serious Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by up to one year in the County Jail. Simple Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by up to 30 days in the county jail. As you can imagine, fines increase with the severity of the crime.
In May, 7 Indictable Misdemeanors came in 10 were disposed. The State’s case tracking system reflects that the pending number is down slightly to 174.
In May, 63 Simple Misdemeanors came in and only 35 were disposed. Despite our outreach efforts, Simple Misdemeanor cases seem to be building up because of the closure. The State’s case tracking system reflects that the total number of pending Simple Misdemeanors is now up from 370 to 401.
In May, the Clarke County Attorney’s Office Juvenile case load included 1 new Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) cases with 1 disposed. The State’s case tracking system reflects 104 CINA (& other) cases and 118 total pending Juvenile cases. The State’s case tracking system rests at 14 total pending Juvenile Delinquency cases.
In May, the Clarke County Attorney’s Office explored and applied for grants that, if awarded, would be used to support law enforcement and the administration of justice. While many of such grants are funded by Federal taxes, they would help to reduce the local cost of law enforcement and administration of justice.