'Stop dismissing cases': Riverside County law enforcement to judges

"Stop dismissing cases."

That's the message Riverside County law enforcement is giving to Superior Court judges as cases continue to be dismissed due to a lack of available trial courtrooms. 

According to officials, a large percentage of the dismissed cases involve domestic violence as well as felonies involving firearms. 

"While we commend District Attorney Mike Hestrin for immediately refiling charges in this case and in many other dismissed cases, this is a temporary fix. The State needs to do more, perhaps by adding more judges and staff to help alleviate the backlog caused by the Court’s inability to regularly conduct criminal trials during the pandemic."

"We call on Riverside County judges to show that same level of urgency and creativity to address this public safety crisis, as continuing to set criminals free undermines the entire justice system and threatens our communities."

In December, it was reported by the Riverside County District Attorney that more than 1,000 criminal court cases had been dismissed in the past ten weeks at that time. As of Dec. 16, there were about 2,200 backlogged cases and Superior Court judges have dismissed 1,098 criminal matters.  

"Our office respectfully disagrees with the decisions the judges continue to make regarding mass case dismissals. A one-size fits all approach of blanket case dismissals is not the answer," said DA Mike Hestrin. "We are continuing to ask the bench to look at each case individually to determine if there is good cause to continue the matter until a courtroom becomes available."