LOUISVILLE, KY -- In a radical change designed to help resolve district court cases more quickly while reducing the time police officers are off the streets, the Jefferson County attorney's office tomorrow is ending a long-standing practice of routinely subpoenaing police for thousands of pretrial hearings in traffic and misdemeanor cases, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal in its Sunday edition.
The change also is expected to save metro Louisville government hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual payments to police for off-duty court appearances.
Those expenditures exceeded $100,000 a month -- more than $1.5 million annually -- last year and in 2007.
More than 113,000 misdemeanor and traffic cases passed through Jefferson District Court in 2008, and many were resolved without hearings or any witnesses being subpoenaed to testify.
But in "95 percent" of the cases that required at least one court hearing, the subpoenaed officers were not needed, and their presence had no bearing on the outcome, Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White said in a recent interview. "They are going there, sitting around," he said. "That should not occur," White told The Courier-Journal.
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