Caddo District Attorney James Stewart says he is doing everything he can to move criminal cases through the court process. But Stewart says we have lost more than 200 days of jury trial time since the Covid pandemic began. He says that has caused even more delays in the system.

Judge Stewart says the list KEEL News published about inmates in jail awaiting trial is not completely accurate.

Stewart says "this is not the first time that the jail has been backed up. It's been backed up before. The only difference is people don't use it for a political ploy. They sit down and talk about the issues and reduce the pressure on the jail. We are ready to go to trial whenever the judges tell us we can go to trial."

Judge Stewart says as crime increases, we have delays in getting the criminals to trial. He adds: "the constitution of the United States was not built for speed." We followed up and asked him what about the right to a speedy trial and Stewart told us:

When the Constitution was created, they didn't have the circumstances that we have today. If you have 10,000 cases and you have a thousand people in jail, you only have 365 days in a year. You could not even get to all the cases. Those trials take a lot of time and you have so many motions that delay the system.

In referring to Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator who has been critical of the judicial delays, Judge Stewart says:

I think it's disingenuous for an elected official to attack the Judges, the jurors, the D.A.'s, the clerks and everybody who is in an everyday struggle to make things work.

Caddo Judges have halted jury trials in the parish until the first of March.

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