– Linn & Johnson Counties to have new Case Management Conference System starting Jan 2017

The Sixth Judicial District has announced that beginning in Linn and Johnson Counties on January 2, 2017, it is going to initiate case management conferences (CMCs) to manage criminal cases in a more effective manner.  By eliminating the traditional pretrial conference and managing criminal cases via a CMC system, the court will schedule an initial CMC earlier in the pendency of the criminal case, allowing more effective Judicial management in order to avoid last-minute discovery issues and avoid clogging the docket up with unrealistic trial dates for criminal cases and enhance firm trial dates for both criminal and civil cases.

Proposed CMC Procedures:

As of this time, the following chronology will take place in felony* cases when CMCs are implemented:

  1. Filing of Trial Information; scheduling of arraignment within 14 days.
  2. At arraignment, whether in writing or in court, the court will schedule a CMC for approximately 40 days after arraignment. The court will also schedule a trial date 70-80 days from the filing of the Trial Information when speedy trial is demanded; and 110-120 days out when speedy trial is waived.  At a CMC, judicial management in cases becomes critical.  All counsel and parties must appear at a CMC.  The judge addresses how the case is progressing, including the status of discovery and whether a plea offer has been extended, communicated to the defendant, and whether the case can proceed to disposition at that time.  The judge then can take one of the following actions:
    a. Take the case to disposition at that point by taking a plea;
    b. Schedule a plea hearing within a short period of time;
    c. Schedule another CMC setting forth expectations;
    d. Confirming the trial date; if the trial date is not realistic, the court will reschedule a trial date to a realistic and firm date with input from counsel.

*In misdemeanor cases, the initial CMC will be scheduled approximately 21 days from arraignment.

Summary:

Case management conferences will promote greater judicial involvement in management of cases at an earlier stage and ensure trial dates are firm and realistic.