Local News

Wake County Courtrooms Packed; Judges Overloaded

Posted January 16, 2008
Updated January 17, 2008

— One of the busiest court systems in the state is struggling to keep up with the growing number of cases. A Wake County district judge says more jurists are needed, but his calls for help might not be answered .

The docket for Thursday afternoon listed more than 117 cases in one courtroom. According to Chief District Judge Robert B. Rader, that is considered a light load.

"Some days, it is just more cases than we can handle with the number of judges we've got," defense attorney Bill Young said.

Last year, more than 230,000 cases were filed in Wake County, and the court system is struggling to keep up.

"Since cases that need to be tried cannot get reached on busy days ... they keep getting continued and continued and they end up on the same day as the new cases and you end up with a scene," Rader said.

Judges say they are forced to do more with less these days.

"If you have 280 cases on a calendar, where you have four hours or 240 minutes, then you have allocated less than a minute per case," Rader said.

Many cases are serious offenses, like drunk driving. Rader said Wake County needs more judges and that will not happen without legislative approval.

Two new judges have recently been approved, but Rader said more are desperately needed.

One of the new judges was scheduled to be appointed this month. The other will not be appointed until January of next year.

In the meantime, Rader said they are looking into options for limiting the number of cases per day.


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  • judge Jan 17, 2008

    Sorry. I thought I was commenting on another story. WRAL - please delete my comment regarding Gardasil if you can. Thank you. If not, my apologies to all.

  • judge Jan 17, 2008

    The lifetime risk of cervical cancer for women in the U.S., is estimated at 0.73%. Tragic as it is, this is not like the prevention of the bubonic plague. Gardasil does not prevent all occurrences. For potential side effects check the NVIC report at VAERS. I agree with conducting research, and administering by physicians through voluntary programs, and opt-out programs. However, to force dosing in order to generate profits for pharmaceutical companies is very wrong. I also agree with breast cancer screening and mammograms, but I do not want to see legislators forcing this on anyone who is unwilling.

  • For the U.S.A. Jan 17, 2008

    MY comments are MY point of view, no one esles. It is not the governments job to make sure that cars are calibrated to the correct speed, (improper equipment). No one wants to take liability for their OWN actions!

  • claudnc Jan 17, 2008

    weal - I saw part of the Cynthia Moreland clip - it just stated the trial will be moved back. The guy's lawyer is trying to go for either insanity or being mentally handicap. Either way the trial has been moved back to a later time. I have a girlfriend who knows the guy family and she states he has always been a little off.

  • dang_skippy Jan 17, 2008

    Twice I've been sent a summons to appear on a jury, both times I have called the night before and listened to the jury pool line and I didn't need to report.

    Put me on the bench, we'd have the frivolous cases thrown out, the speeders cases handled, and leave the judges to handle the bigger cases.

    And if any of the offenders don't have a valid license or green card, Gtmo here you come!

  • judge Jan 17, 2008

    I told legislators the new helmet laws are vague and unconstitutional. Rep Bill Faison scoffed "that's why we pay judges high dollars". The Governor signed the bill, but nobody in his office could tell consumers how to ensure compliance with certainty. We have no recourse except to get helmet tickets and take them to trial! Each trial costs taxpayers $872. 2000 tickets will cost $1.7M. I am willing to backlog the courts with trials others deem trivial. Fight all helmet tickets! There is nothing trivial about protecting our constitutional rights. The public needs to protest beside us, and stop so many laws which control everything we do and wear.

  • Cable Jan 17, 2008

    I ask yo uto go sit in court one day and just watch its a mess in there.

  • weasleyes Jan 17, 2008

    I would like to know why the WRAL site has not published something today about the case involving Cynthia Moreland? I was in a public place last night, and saw something about it on TV, but could not hear a word. If someone can tell me what this was about, it would be appreciated. She was a wonderful person and a dear friend.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 17, 2008


    I did not know you could do that here. I was in court on two occasions with one of my children. Both times prior to the Judge coming out the DA went through what each person was going to do; I was sitting close enough to hear him in most cases offer in immediate reduction in whatever the offense was, unless it was a DUI or another serious offense. Then people went before the judge and they kind of ripped through it. I was sort of amazed at how many cases they went through. It only slowed a bit when some of the more serious cases came up. I suspect one of the reasons so many people show up is they have an expectation of at least getting their offense reduced. Makes a big difference in terms of license points. The only other time I sat in court was on a jury; it took a week.

  • Titus Pullo Jan 17, 2008

    "What does the legislature do besides spend all their time on their pet projects?"

    They continue to make more laws. Perhaps they should simply define what is legal and, by default, everything else is illegal. It might be easier.