The pandemic caused a backup of court cases in Stearns County for the past couple of years.  Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall joined me on WJON today.  She says the reason they aren't caught up now is due to a lack of public defenders.  Kendall explains that they have had a lot of turnover in the public defenders office toward the end of 2021.  She says despite being short as many as 5 public defenders at one time, they are expecting a record number of trials this year. Kendall says they are now just 1 person short in the public defenders office which should allow them to get to more of these cases.

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Kendall explains that the reason for the expected record number of cases is because of the amount of violent crimes that have been committed in the county in the past year.  She says this and getting caught up on trials pushed back due the pandemic is the reason.  Kendall explains that the number of cases that go to trial is still a small percentage.  She says of the approximately 1200 felonies in the county they are looking at a record of 45 trials this year.  Kendall says they get a lot of trials ready to go but not all go to trial.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall it is available below.



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