On Monday, February 10, Criminal Court ‘E’ Judge, Ceaineh D. Clinton Johnson disclosed that 832 inmates were currently detained at the Monrovia Central Prison (MPC).
Judge Johnson said out of that number, 442 were in the category of pre-trial detainees or convicted.
According to her, 390 cases were on the dockets for hearing during the February 2014 Term of Court.
Judge Johnson divulged this information when she delivered her charge during the joint formal opening of the February 2014 Term of Criminal Courts A, B, C, D, and E at the Temple of Justice.
“Our challenge during this term of court is to effectively manage the 390 cases to overcome the backlog of cases on our dockets,” she told her colleagues.
“To do this we must first look at the work to be done,” suggested Judge Johnson.
“Except for Criminal Court ‘E’,” she said, “the other Criminal Courts have only 42 days of trial, with ten days for preparation for the term and ten days to close down its work.”
“If we say that we would take, for example, one week to hear a case, two days for each party and one day to argue and render judgment, we would only be able to do this if we violate the rights of one party in the case,” she explained.
“Not to mention the different statutory time line requirements in the law. Even with this one week per case, this means that we would hear at most eight cases by term in 40 days.”
“So with this kind of situation,” according to her, “we must effectively handle our dockets; any delays would have the propensity to sink society into moral decay with victims becoming bitter and drawing away from the law.”
Holding the Judiciary responsible, Judge Johnson noted: “The Judiciary would be at fault if we do not properly administer the processes of trial to ensure that those who commit crimes are punished.”
“If we fail in this situation,” she continued, “it would give ground to criminals to glorify themselves by breaking the law and make victims think there is no justice or that society has condemned then for being victimized.”