Felony plea project restarted in Genesee County courts
FLINT (WJRT) -
(04/24/14) - Freeing up more time for serious crimes. That's the idea behind a Genesee County Court program now underway again.
It's called the felony plea project.
ABC12 was in court as it got restarted, Thursday, in 67th District Court.
"We're restarting it, an effort to be more efficient," says 67th District Court Judge Mark Latchana. "We'll be able to get these cases done more quickly and the circuit court judges will be able to get the other, more serious cases more quickly."
The cases considered involve lower level felonies only - four years and below is the maximum punishment, according to Latchana.
First up Thursday, a man with a charge tied to using a debit or credit card without the person's permission.
His plea was to a lesser offense of attempting the act.
Another case had charges of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and manufacturing marijuana. That man's second charge was dismissed.
"We anticipate we're going to have about 80-100 cases a year," Latchana says. "It doesn't sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but what involves is 80 pleas, 80 sentencings and then probation violations."
It could also help free up space in the Genesee County Jail which is chronically overcrowded.
"It's a big addition to the district court docket and a big subtraction from the circuit court docket which will, once again, allow them to focus on those more serious cases."
Latchana says 68th District Court will do the same sort of hearings within a month or two.