I couldn’t help but notice this morning that a judge on Wednesday postponed the trial of Roger Clemens "for three months" moving it into July. Not long ago I listened as the parents of a child who had been beaten up by classmates complained to the judge that it had taken entirely too long to resolve the case. And just last week, I had to ask to postpone a criminal jury trial in Boise until June in a case that I doubt will ever go to trial.
So why does this process take so long? Why can’t we just get it done like they do on Law and Order, all neatly wrapped up in under an hour?
The answer is found in two words – due process. The underpinning of the criminal system is fairness – so the procedures that are in place to keep the trial on an even playing field require that everyone has time to adequately prepare. Get this wrong (go to trial too soon) and it likely results in a claim later that the lawyers did not "effectively" represent that defendant, leading to a conviction.
If you are in a case that you think is taking entirely too long, relax. It is so much better to get fully prepared than to wonder whether everything was done to preserve your freedom.