The Law: Slow Speedup

The U.S. Constitution guarantees every accused criminal "a speedy and public trial," but in many states the courts keep falling behind. In New York City, for example, felony defendants get indicted at a rate of 25,000 a year, while the disposition of such cases runs to only 20,000. As of last January, there was a backlog of 10,000 cases, and one quarter of those kept in jail wait more than six months before their cases are disposed of.

To end this scandal, Stanley H. Fuld, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, announced last...

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