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Ky. attorney expects it could take years to catch up on backlog jury trial cases due to pandemic

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 10:13 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses, schools, and even the court system switched to Zoom to get work done. But, for jury trials, that wasn’t an option.

“Just not possible because there’s no direct confrontation, there are issues regarding the jury itself, so just too many constitutional implications to go that route,” Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn said.

Now that Kentucky courts can get back in session, Fayette County has a backlog of about 144 cases set for trial, more than 70 are pending homicide cases.

“There is a lot of work to be done between now and catching up which I think will probably take a couple of years,” Red Corn said.

In the scheduling process, Red Corn expects to prioritize cases in which defendants are incarcerated pending the outcome of their trials and child sexual abuse cases.

She has a message for those victims and witnesses waiting even longer for a verdict.

“We recognize your frustration and we’re sorry for the circumstances we find ourselves in,” Red Corn said. “We’re trying to get things up and running again, we’re working and ready to try these cases, and it’s not going to happen as quickly as it should but it is happening.”

The first jury trial is expected to start mid-July.

Red Corn said rules in the courtroom regarding face masks and social distancing will be left up to the judge and can vary from trial to trial.

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