Delays in NC's sexual assault cases stretch into years


Adding insult to injury for the victims:

Once law enforcement arrests a rape suspect in North Carolina, the wait only begins for both the rape survivor and the accused. Resolution of the charges typically takes more than a year, Carolina Public Press found in June in a statewide analysis of court data, with some cases taking much longer.

The average sexual assault case that remained open and was included in the analysis had been open for 900 days, or about 2 ½ years. But some cases have been open for longer than 4 1/2 years after an arrest, which was the most the data available could show.

Can you imagine that? Being raped by some dude, and then going month after month knowing he's out there somewhere roaming around? If that happened to my daughter I'd probably end up in jail myself, especially after watching something like this happen more than once:

One issue is defendants who fire their court-appointed attorneys, Oerhlein said.

“It’s a common tactic is when it gets down to crunch time,” he said. “They don’t like the plea offer, and it’s getting close to a trial,” Oehrlein said.

Judges will usually give a defendant who says he has reached an impasse with his attorney an opportunity to work with at least one more attorney, he said.

“That sets the case back to zero,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for them to do that with two or three attorneys.”

There's got to be a better way. I would never limit a defendant's right to proper counsel, but when I think of that victim leaving her house every morning and immediately scanning the area to make sure he isn't around, it makes my blood boil. She is actually serving the sentence that he deserves, and our system is to blame for that injustice.