Atlanta-area DA says violent offenders could be released if office doesn’t get help to manage case backlog
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told Fox affiliate WAGA-TV that prosecutors generally have 90 days after an arrest to indict a defendant or let them out on bond.
With the deadline set to be re-imposed, Willis said suspected criminals, some charged with violent crimes, could be freed while they await trial if prosecutors don't act on those cases.
DOJ ANNOUNCES NEW FEDERAL MONITOR PROGRAM TO OVERSEE POLICE DEPARTMENTS"If I do not get additional staffers, we are going to see people released," she told the news outlet.
"The reality is that often people that commit crimes will commit another if they're released."
The backlog comes as Atlanta is in the midst of a spike in violent crime, similar to other major cities nationwide.
In addition, 611 people have been shot, compared to 550 in the first nine months of last year.
Around 4,000 cases were leftover from Howard's tenure and another 7,000 were from crimes committed during the pandemic.
"The average lawyer and investigative team., max, can put together about 10-12 cases a week for indictment.
He could be released on bond if he is not indicted before the Sept. 28 deadline.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPIn addition to the unindicted cases, Willis' office has more than 11,000 indicted cases in the system, of which more than 600 people accused of murder.
"I would be less than honest if I told you that some days it doesn't make me very angry," she said.
In June, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners approved $75 million to reduce the judicial backlog caused by COVID-19.