Hesse: Politicians want more staff in courts

The outrage is great: Suspects are finally released from custody.

Hesse: Politicians want more staff in courts

The outrage is great: Suspects are finally released from custody. The reason: too long procedures. Prosecutors suspect some of attempted manslaughter. The state government wants to prevent something like this in the future with more staff in the judiciary.

Wiesbaden (dpa/lhe) - With more staff in courts and public prosecutor's offices, the Hessian state government wants to prevent further lifting of arrest warrants because of excessively long proceedings. Just a few weeks ago, the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court ordered the release of six suspected criminals because the proceedings were too long. Two jury chambers had previously indicated that the presidium of the regional court was overloaded, said Justice Minister Roman Poseck (CDU) in response to a small request from the AfD. As a rule, such notices of overload are not forwarded to the ministry and intervention by the ministry in the allocation of business of a court would violate the constitution in several respects.

One case in the most recent cancellation of arrest warrants involved four suspects. They are said to have tried to kill two people after a dispute on July 3, 2021, injuring them life-threateningly. According to a publication by the German Association of Judges, at least 66 suspects were released from custody nationwide last year because the proceedings were too long.

"From the available database and the documents available from the Attorney General's Office, only the lifting of arrest warrants because of "excessively long proceedings" by the Frankfurt am Main Higher Regional Court can be determined," Poseck said in his answer. But local and regional courts could also lift arrest warrants in the course of a detention review or complaint. These cases would not be recorded statistically. Nevertheless, in its response, the ministry lists 17 cases of release from pre-trial detention since 2019. The allegations against the suspects: attempted murder, attempted manslaughter, aggravated extortion, dangerous bodily harm and others.

"A significant increase in the number of staff in the judiciary is planned for the 2023/2024 double budget. A large number of additional positions will be proposed to the state parliament," said Poseck. A large number of measures have already been taken and the number of hires has increased significantly in recent years. However, only the best should be hired. "In the future, too, the focus when recruiting new judges and public prosecutors will be on measures to increase the attractiveness of the legal clerkship in Hesse, on comprehensive personnel recruitment measures and on measures to increase the attractiveness of the Hessian judiciary."

The release of suspected violent criminals from custody because the proceedings were too long was "unfortunately a scandal with announcement", criticized the FDP member of parliament Marion Schardt-Sauer. The overloading of the judiciary is a long-known problem that Minister of Justice Poseck inherited from his predecessor. In addition, the overloading of the courts is one of many construction sites in Hesse's judiciary, she criticized. "A job in the public sector is unattractive if too little is paid and the courts are more in the Stone Age than in the digital age."

According to an earlier small inquiry by the FDP, criminal proceedings in the Hessian courts lasted several months last year. The processing time at local courts, averaging 6.6 months, was significantly shorter than that at regional courts, at 10.1 months for criminal cases of the first instance. The district court in Darmstadt went on the offensive in December due to a lack of judges. "In view of the insufficient number of judges available to the Darmstadt Regional Court, the considerable slowdown in the administration of justice that has already occurred in many areas can no longer be averted by measures to distribute business," the regional court said at the time about a decision by the Presidium.

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