Judicial efficiency

Monday, September 13, 2004

The 32nd Judicial Circuit has for many years worked efficiently in the name of justice and fairness -- so efficiently in fact that the circuit has earned a top honor. It's being honored for its efficiency in case management for the fiscal year 2003.

The circuit includes Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Perry counties and was one of three circuits in the state to receive the recognition. There are 45 circuits in the state that were considered for the honor.

Local judges, clerks and lawyers call the 32nd judicial circuit the "rocket docket" because of how quickly cases are resolved. Jury trials usually last a day or two, and there are seldom complicated legal matters to attend to.

And since it takes everyone working together to keep justice moving, the award is not just an honor for the circuit but a compliment to the area's lawyers and clerks too.

The circuit will be presented the Daniel J. O'Toole Award at the Judicial Conference of Missouri in St. Louis at the end of this month. Each courthouse in the 32nd circuit will receive a plaque to display.

To qualify for the award, a circuit must achieve at least five of the 10 case-processing time standards and must be within 5 percent of achieving the remaining standards.

The local circuit met seven of the 10 standards and was within the margin for the three other standards, according to the Office of State Courts Administrator.

The time standard limits serve as a guideline for how long various cases should take the courts to handle.

Local judges said the award isn't based on a competition, but is a reflection of efficiency and a good work ethic.

This isn't the first time the 32nd Judicial Circuit has been recognized for its efficiency. When the award was implemented in the early 1990s, the circuit was one of the first recipients. It's a good compliment to our community for the judicial circuit to be considered one of the most efficient in the state.

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