GENERIC: courtroom, court

Courts are now back in session in many Michigan communities after the pandemic created a massive backlog of cases.

Courts are now back in session in many Michigan communities after the pandemic created a massive backlog of cases.

That includes at least 1,000 cases in Genesee County.

"It's all hands-on deck, everybody has to roll up their sleeves, and everybody's going to see court room action, including me," said David Leyton, Genesee County Prosecutor.

Preliminary examinations in the Genesee County District Court return in person today, but there's a significant backlog of cases to battle.

"Our backlog is mountainous. It's just like scaling Mt. Everest. We have at least 1,000 cases back logged in the district court waiting for preliminary examination," Leyton said.

While the cases sit and wait, so do some of the people they involve. Criminal defense attorney Nicholas Robinson said that could even mean waiting in custody.

"There are plenty of people that are in custody right now, that are inside the Genesee County Jail that have been waiting well over a year for their trial date. It's been very hard on them mentally, it's been very hard on them physically," Robinson said. 

"They're not getting out; they're not getting any movement on their cases. It can be incredibly frustrating for them, I get that. They don't know what their future holds," Leyton said.

Leyton said this issue of backlog started piling up even before the pandemic.

"We have way too many cases, not enough prosecutors, not enough defense attorneys, not enough judges, not enough court rooms, and not enough jurors. The pandemic just complicated that," Leyton said.

To combat the backlog, Leyton says there's been talk of adding extra hours or days of work but are waiting on more resources to become available.

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