Backlog has Wayne County judges scheduling jury trials for 2024

‘These are circumstances that are unavoidable’

We’re getting new insight into just how bad the backlog is in the Wayne County court system.

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – The backlog in the Wayne County court system is so behind that jury trials are being scheduled into 2024.

“It has been a problem, obviously, taking care of the backlog but we are making progress now. The priority on those who have been in the Wayne County Jail,” Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny said.

Wayne County courts are dealing with some cases where the person has been sitting in jail waiting for trial since the COVID pandemic began. Trials are being scheduled out into 2024.

“These are circumstances that are unavoidable. We’ve had a lengthy time during the pandemic, a lengthy time not having to have jury trials and it’s just an incredible backlog that no one could have ever foreseen,” attorney Todd Perkins said.

Kenny and Perkins said that judges, lawyers and clerks are all working overtime to try and make a dent in the case backlog.

“The priorities are people who are in custody, a priority are people who are the more serious and violent cases. So I know there’s a prioritization that goes on, but at the end of the day people demand a trial and they’re gonna get it,” Perkins said.

There are around 2,300 cases the courts need to get through. Officials said it’s going to take a lot of time.

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.