Criminal Cases Filed in Wichita County at Highest Level since 2005

Newschannel 6 learned the number of criminal cases filed in 2010 is the highest in the last several years. According to the information put out by the Court Administrator's Office, 1368 new criminal cases were filed last year, the highest since 2005.

To see a copy of the report, click here  and here

Judge Bob Brotherton with the 30th District Court may have a reason for the rise. "I think when the economy suffers, business in the criminal courts go up for a variety of reasons. Economic crimes tend to increase theft, identity theft, forgery, those type of things. Maybe it's acts of desperation by defendants. I don't know, but it seems like that occurs," he says.

However, the high numbers may actually be a credit to those who protect and serve.

"Law enforcement just tends to get better. Enforcement, intervention...that all increases," explains the Judge. "So as law enforcement becomes better and more efficient, better manned, you can expect that the folks who break the law will get caught in a more frequent basis. So I think that drives the numbers up."

With the increased volume of cases, many who want justice may have to wait. Multiple factors can come into play to delay a trial such as the readiness of both the Defense and Prosecution, various examinations of the Defendants, and the compiling of evidence.

However, there is a system in place to ensure a speedy trial, for some. Those who are incarcerated and can't make bail have trial priorities, because housing prisoners comes at a cost to tax payers and could infringe upon someone's rights.

"I guess the main reason you want to give priority to those cases is because somebody's liberty is at stake and somebody's liberty is temporary at least detained, " Judge Brotherton says.

Yet those who aren't on the criminal docket and who are on bail will simply have to wait to stand trial.

"If someone's out on bail as long as they stay out on bail, their case will creep towards the top of the docket. But if they have a docket that's got a lot of jail cases, then the folks that are out on bail are going to be pushed back another week."

Mary Moloney, Newschannel 6