Court docket down 20% last month

Published 12:05 am Saturday, April 2, 2011

Covington County’s court docket was reduced by about 20 percent in March, District Attorney Walt Merrell said Friday.

The office disposed of 87 total cases in March. Of those, 31 people were sent to prison; 38 got probation; seven entered drug court; and 11 were dismissed outright.

“The ones we dismissed were no longer prosecutable, mainly due to the age of the cases,” Merrell said. “In some, witnesses had died or officers had moved.”

In the first quarter of 2011, the DA’s office dealt with 77 drug cases. Of those, 43 received probation, 23 went to prison and 11 went to drug court.

For the same period last here, 50 drug cases were handled. Of those, 34 received probation, and 16 went to prison.

When Merrell took office in January, he planned to have what he termed a “rocket docket” in the spring, with a goal of handling 90 cases in a month. He had planned to get help from two other DA’s offices.

“Based on our results in March, I think we can take care of this by ourselves and save the taxpayers a tremendous amount of money,” he said.