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Mobile, Al., Officials Blame Trial Delays For Rising Violence

Mobile, Al., officials are criticizing the criminal justice system for contributing to a wave of violence that culminated this weekend in multiple shootings and three deaths, reports Al.com. “In my opinion, the criminal justice system is broken,” said Mayor Sandy Stimpson said during a news conference that was attended by the city’s new police chief, Paul Prine, and the past two police chiefs who have different roles within the administration, Chief of Staff James Barber and Executive Director of Public Safety Lawrence Battiste. “We cannot arrest our way out of the problem,” said Prine. “We need help. We need help from the prosecutor’s office and the judicial system.” he added, “To say it’s broken is an understatement.”

The concerns expressed by Stimpson, Prine and others focused on a backlog of cases awaiting jury trials in Mobile County. Some of those cases were stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic, but city officials say that 142 murder cases are awaiting a grand jury and 193 murder cases are awaiting a jury trial. “We have 345 untried murder cases,” Stimpson said. “Many of these people are walking the streets today. The lack of speedy trails emboldens criminals.” The frustrations come after a violent weekend that started Friday and continued through Sunday at a vigil that was connected to a killing two days earlier. Prine was at the vigil where the shooting occurred. “The chief was there,” Stimpson said. “We had an abundance of officers there. But when there is retaliatory action, it’s hard to thwart that crime.”


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