Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is one of the most powerful prosecutors in the country, but yesterday he was in criminal court, trying to help his underlings get through a backlog of over 16,000 cases. According to the NY Times, "Such a backlog leads to significant delays: Last year, the average case in criminal court took 316 days to go from arraignment to completion, he said. The logjam also results in the dismissal of thousands of cases each year that fail to proceed to trial quickly enough. More than 4,800 such cases were dismissed last year in Manhattan, according to court records."
Vance made the promise to clear up the backlog when he was campaigning for DA (he replaced outgoing DA Robert Morgenthau, who held the office for
ever35 years). So yesterday Post reports, he "spent this morning standing in a busy, second-floor misdemeanor courtroom, personally handling such routine procedures as announcing grand jury action in petty larcenies and making plea deal offers to minor check forgers."
In the new program, felony prosecutors—including Vance—will help lower-level assistant DA's by stepping in one day a month to handle lower court cases. Vance is also on Twitter, but it seems like it's used more to broadcast events, versus things like "In courtroom, closing cases."