Wasted Time Clogs Courts

Our courts are clogged. Civil/criminal cases may take years to come to trial, and often drag on much longer than they need to. Judges have to take time away from trials to handle administrative matters. Juries are given 1-1/2 hours for lunch, half-hour breaks and go home at 2:30 pm. But the biggest waste of time by far is each side’s insistence on dragging out in minute detail facts that can be stipulated (agreed to) by both parties before the trial begins.

Prosecutors and attorneys will often stipulate to facts: “The parties stipulate that the defendant’s address is…” or “The parties will stipulate that the police arrived on the scene at 10:15.” Facts not in question are exhaustively explored by each side, detail after detail, consuming hours of valuable court time. The jurors, the judge, the witnesses, may slumber. Trials should not be so boring that they induce sleep. Trial time could be cut by 1/3-1/2 through the use of “stipulated facts.” These facts

Should be easily proven, with no disagreement between the parties.
Should not be in questsion, or be an issue at trial.
Should be agreed upon by both sides, and the judge.

Each side would prepare a list of facts they believe can safely be stipulated, and provide the other side with a copy. The parties would strike those they believe should be argued and submit the list to the judge. Upon the judge’s approval, each member of the jury would be given the list to refer to as the trial proceeds.

I believe this would make things easier for everyone involved.

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