Over 100 cases were resolved Tuesday during a 'Settlement Day' in Klamath County Court...and staffers have been busy tallying up numbers today.
Klamath County Circuit Court Judge Dan Bunch had 259 cases on his docket Tuesday...and 109 of those were resolved by the end of the day.
"Extremely pleased." Stated Judge Bunch. "And it went better than I thought it would."
Defense Attorney Phil Studenberg noted that settlement day made for a long wait for many defendants...
"I understand they all got parking tickets while they were waiting in court, little things like that - which are dehumanizing. But I think in the long run it's going to be a great system, it's going to work."
It's hoped the settlement conferences will reduce the number of mandatory appearances, and reduce caseloads.
"The number of attorneys has dropped from 12 to 6 over the last 5 years, there's 5 judges and only 6 deputy DA's." Klamath County District Attorney Rob Patridge points out. "We just no longer have the staffing based on our budget to even cover the courtrooms."
Judge Bunch believes that justice is still being served...
"I think we ended up with the same result we would have had 7 appearances down the road, and we got it done in 1 appearance."
Studenberg adds that could save taxpayers some money...
"We'll move cases quicker, the jail space is going to get cleared out more quickly, there will be less cost to the jailers, and i think it's going to save everybody money."
The judges agreed to try the new system at the request of defense, and prosecuting attorneys.
Of the 109 cases resolved, 91 involved plea changes or scheduled changes of plea.
The remaining 18 cases were dismissed.
8 people were sent to prison as a result of settlement day.