The merger of the Bronx criminal and supreme courts has been deemed unconstitutional by an appeals court, raising doubts about the validity of thousands of misdemeanor convictions. In a ruling that could turn out overturning every misdemeanor conviction in the courthouse since 2004, the state Appellate Division determined that a judge didn't have the authority to make the merger, according to the Daily News.

The tabloid reports that the Bronx District Attorney's office will likely "seek a temporary hold on the ruling while it appeals." Proponents of the merger said it would streamline the legal process, though opponents argued it "is a model of inefficiency." Over the past five years, the Bronx system became overwhelmed with a backlog of cases, resulting in a 42 percent drop in the number of felony cases brought to trials and huge delays for plaintiffs and defendants. Last year, a Bronx man who had been held in jail for five years while he was awaiting trial was released without ever going to court.