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Resolving DUI cases faster is project's goal

Resolving DUI cases faster is project's goal

Attorneys group fears speed could lead to injustice

By Kim Smith
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.27.2006

The wheels of justice turn slowly. At least that's what they say.

Well, when it comes to driving under the influence, the Arizona Supreme Court is trying to speed up those wheels.

On July 1, nearly a dozen justice and municipal courts including Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts will embark on a pilot project aimed at resolving 90 percent of all DUI cases within four months and 98 percent within six months.

Last fiscal year, only 67 percent of the state's DUI cases were resolved within four months, with roughly 82 percent decided within six months.

Not pleased with the numbers, Chief Justice Ruth McGregor of the Arizona Supreme Court appointed a committee to review how Arizona's courts handle DUI cases and suggest improvements.

The chief justice issued an administrative order on April 26 establishing the DUI Case Processing Pilot Program in Pima, Maricopa, Navajo and Yavapai counties, based on the committee's recommendations.

The pilot program is ruffling some feathers within the 400-plus members of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, who fear the push to resolve cases more quickly could lead to injustice.

"Justice delayed may be justice denied, but expediency without regard to fairness will produce injustice," Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice wrote in response to the committee's recommendations. "We must continually guard against assembly-line justice, in which the court's concern for case management is placed ahead of fundamental fairness."

Attorney Kathleen Carey

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