Chatham county, District Court, Traffic, Continuance, district 15b
The purpose of this written policy is to establish and explain a Uniform Continuance Policy to address and avoid backlog in Traffic Court.
Initial continuances of Chapter 20 infractions shall be allowed upon request for 8 weeks for disposition unless subpoenas are issued. These continuances may be carried out by the clerk without the permission of the Court. Cases shall be set on the officer's next date within 8 weeks of the initial setting. (If vacation or holidays interfere, should be set on the officer's subsequent date.) If the magistrate or officer has subpoenaed a civilian prosecuting witness, leave of the Court shall be required for a continuance.
In any serious traffic case, where a subpoena is required, an initial continuance of 8 weeks should be allowed to subpoena the appropriate witnesses and to have proof of service returned to the file.
In any serious traffic matter an initial continuance of 8 weeks should be allowed to allow preparation for trial and/or plea.
An additional 4 week continuance beyond the initial 8 week continuance should be granted upon good cause. This continuance shall be done without the consent of the presiding judge if the continuance is stipulated to by the prosecution and defense.
A last 4 week continuance shall be granted only with leave of the presiding judge upon showing of extraordinary cause.
In cases in which the civilian prosecuting witness has been served with the subpoena (including by a magistrate or officer upon the issuance of the warrant), if the witness failed to appear, the case should not be continued without a showing of extraordinary cause for the non-appearance.
The goal of the Uniform Continuance Policy is to assure that no case will be on the calendar unless it needs to be addressed. In no event should a case be continued beyond 120 days and the last 30 days of that period should be only upon showing of extraordinary cause.
Strict enforcement of policy, with respect to defendants who have failed to appear in serious traffic offenses, in imposing additional bond and consideration of contempt sanctions (including jail), should be used in order to decrease the numbers of people who fail to appear in court.