Reducing Case Delay: Swifter Cases and Better Justice


As jail is increasingly being reserved for people held on more serious charges, reducing case delay is a critical strategy. Any unnecessary extension of the time a person is held is both unjust and expensive. Unnecessary delays also undermine the confidence that New Yorkers have in fairness and effectiveness of the justice system. To ensure cases move with expedition, people charged with offenses must get to court on time, prosecutors and defenders must be ready for court, judges must ensure every appearance is meaningful and New Yorkers must show up as witnesses and jurors. Together with partners, MOCJ is working to identify and address the sources of case delays.


As part of the Justice Reboot Initiative, launched in April 2015, MOCJ has been working closely with judges, defenders, district attorneys’ offices, the state court system, Department of Correction, Department of Probation, and the New York City Police Department to reduce case delays and shorten the length of pretrial detention.

These solutions include:

  1. Increasing meaningful court appearances. For a court appearance to be meaningful something material must happen that moves the case to resolution. To ensure that court appearances advance cases in an efficient manner, MOCJ holds meetings in each borough with judges, defense organizations, and district attorneys to identify case delays and develop pragmatic solutions to address these issues.
  2. Increasing on-time court production: MOCJ has been working with the Department of Correction to identify solutions to the many transportation and safety challenges inherent in moving roughly 1,000 people per day from Rikers Island to courthouses in the five boroughs. 
  3. Increasing attorney-client visitation:Giving attorneys more access to their clients, and making it easier to meet with them is a key component of moving cases toward resolution. MOCJ worked with defenders and the Department of Correction to provide free transportation for attorneys to and from Rikers, and to increase the number of video-conferencing slots available to attorneys.