COVID has wrecked what was a predictably oppressive criminal justice system in Kaufman County. In the days before COVID, we could pretty accurately predict how long it would take for your case to get filed and then how long it would take before you had to set it for trial or pre-trial. Since the first court shutdown in March, that’s all gone by the wayside. It’s not easy to predict how long it will take for a case to get filed since agencies are working on different schedules now, and the usual time frame to get a case filed can be shorter for some cases. Since prosecutors aren’t in trial, they can be in the office more handling intake. It can be longer for other cases to get filed, such as cases that need lab testing or many witness interviews.
We are still setting cases for trial in Kaufman County, but since March 2020, there are have been only 3 criminal trials in Kaufman County. Kaufman County has four courts that hear criminal cases in Kaufman County. They used to average 1-2 trials a month each. Now they average zero a month.
So what’s happening to all those criminal cases? Many are getting reset indefinitely. The plea offers haven’t gotten much better, so defendants who don’t want to take a deal are just waiting to see if things improve. If you are looking at pen time, most people would rather wait and see what happens anyway.