How Delays Deny Justice

  • By:Winer Bennett
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The word came down from a clerk in a Hillsborough County Family Court (9th Circut) that all final hearings were being scheduled out to June.  Our case is a contested custody case where the Guardian Ad Litem has already made a recommendation.  This leaves a delay of about nine months for this family to move on to a new way of doing things.  It is difficult to underestimate the damage that can be done as a result of the time that will pass without a Final Order.

Criminal cases get priority where a defendant is incarcerated.  With a liberty interest at stake, it is only fair that incarcerated defendants get into Court faster.  The misconception is that the Criminal system does not suffer any denial of justice due to the late scheduling of trial time.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Cases without incarcerated defendants still require prompt resolution for defendants and victims alike.  Repeated trips to the Court only to be told that the case has been rolled over to another date cause added legal costs, lost work time, and wasted public resources like police time that could be better used to serve the community.

The problems with scheduling hearings in a more timely fashion are not the fault of the Clerks or the Judges.  The problem is money and it is no secret.  Prosperity will return when the political landscape is more predictible.  The key for the justice system is to resist panic.  Economies prosper where there is safety and order and infrastructure.  The State needs to circle the wagons, work a little harder, and continue to produce the best access to the Court that it can.  Businesses need to see that NH is a stable place where companies and their workers can feels safe and have their disputes settled fairly.  Investment in NH will return when it is seen by the national and world business community that we have best weathered the storm and kept our doors open while others have paniced.  They will choose NH as a place to live and work and pay taxes.  Only then will State revenue rise and allow some breathing room for the Court system.

Justice delayed is justice denied.  The road out of the current delay problems is to work harder, be patient, and remain confident that prosperity will return.  It is the NH way and has always been successful in the past.  This crisis will be no exception.

By:  Kent M. Barker

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Posted in: Criminal, Lawsuits

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