County attorney’s office deals with overwhelming caseload

Published 8:15 am Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oscarson theorized that increased crime may also be contributing to the overwhelming caseload.

“If you couple reductions … and you weigh that against the increased caseloads and crime, it kind of tells your story,” he said. “In certain crime areas there has been some pretty big growth patterns (over the last 10 years). Our county attorneys have had more and more work to do.”

Other efforts have been made to lighten the caseload, as well. More fines, particularly traffic-related, have been made payable, in which case a court appearance is not necessary. While this takes some stress off the attorneys, payable crimes also have their cons.

Email newsletter signup

“For those cases there are also victims,” Nelson said, referring to crimes that have been made payable. “They want restitution. They don’t get that with just a ticket.”

Although the county attorney’s office is managing to scrape by on its current budget, Nelson said they can’t take another blow.

“I don’t know how many more cutbacks Public Safety will allow,” she said. “If they cut anything else they need to tell us what they want us to stop doing.”

While the county could certainly use more hands on deck, Nelson said she won’t ask for a sixth attorney because she knows the budget does not allow for it. Instead, everyone is making do with the resources available.

“We help each other,” Nelson said. “We’re a team here. We’re here to serve the public. We do what we have to do to get stuff done.”