Philly courts give non-fatal shooting assault their own courtroom

Reuters

Philadelphia has launched a dedicated courtroom for non-fatal shooting cases in the hopes of speeding along hearings for suspects. 

The Non-Fatal Shooting Program will be comprised of local judges who typically focus on homicide and cases that involve a gun injury. Supervising Judge Leon Tucker told NBC that the court system wanted to create the program, “to address the rapidly increasing incidence of non-fatal shootings and their impact on public safety.”

Under the program, preliminary hearings in the chosen cases will be held within 21 days of the initial arraignment of suspects. That time period is a fraction of what the courts see now, as aggravated assault cases involving a gun can take an average of 300 days to resolve, according to District Attorney Larry Krasner.

According to a new report from local police, aggravated assaults with guns are up 9 percent year-over-year since the start of 2019. 

Krasner told NBC that, “Reducing that time can deter further shootings because criminological science confirms that the swiftness of punishment can effectively deter crime. Superior handling of the cases will also increase the accuracy of convictions and the fairness of sentencings, which also deters crime.”

Besides the quick conversion time, the program will also be doing several other things. According to NBC, this program will: 

•    Provide formal arraignments within two weeks of the first hearing

•    Bypass the scheduling system 

•    Scheduling a trial at the earliest date, before a judge is assigned to the homicide program in common pleas court 

•    List a trial readiness within 21 days of the formal arraignment  

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