The Boston Globe posted a “snapshot” on May 13th reviewing how busy the various Massachusetts are in terms of criminal cases. You can view it here.
As one can see, the number of criminal defendants handled by the different district courts varies widely. Springfield and Worcester, for example, saw more than 11,000 defendants each in 2009. Six courts saw fewer than 1,000. These were Gloucester, Winchendon, Newton, Brookline, Ipswich and Nantucket.
Generally, the busiest courts are the ones nearest metropolitan areas. Thus, Dorchester and Roxbury are liable to be busier than Newburyport or Sandwich.
Depending on the areas, some criminal cases are more prevalent than others. For example, you can expect more homicide cases to be passing through on their way to indictment in the busier courtrooms than someplace like Ipswich.
Another variable that can effect how busy is a certain court is the presence of schools, particularly high school and college. As we have discussed, this is likely to grow given the new bullying law.
Some types of cases, such as drunk driving, will be found in any court. Speaking of drunk driving cases, by the way, the Boston Globe this past Sunday contains an article about many of the recent tragedies resulting from drunk driving in which yours truly is quoted. This can be found here.
As we have discussed in the past, the results of criminal cases are not always the same. There are many reasons for this, such as the different judges, prosecutors and circumstances. The locale of the courtroom can also effect the result.
In busy district courts, the attention given to cases is sometimes less than their quieter counter-parts. Similarly, cases that may be treated as commonplace in one court are sometimes treated like the crime of the century in others. This is usually because two potential reasons. First of all, if the courtroom has very little else going on, any crime is likely to be a big deal. Another reason is that some areas’ prosecutors and judges will target a particular crime because of the area’s sensitivity to it. Often, drunk driving will be one of these.
Also, not every town has its own district court. This means that some courts are busier because they handle cases from a variety of towns.
Sometimes I am asked whether one can choose which district court will handle their matter. The answer is no. The jurisdiction of the town will determine which court will handle the matter.
“So, Sam…is it better to get a lawyer who concentrates on one particular court so that he or she can use their “connections” to handle a case?”
I have not found that. What I have found is that you are best off having an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you. This usually means an attorney who handles cases in the various courts.
By the way…I’m one of those. If you would like to contact me to discuss a criminal matter, feel free to call me at (617) 206-1942.