JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- From a heated fight over furniture to several failed fire safety inspections, the opening of the new Duval County courthouse was delayed for weeks. Those delays kept accused criminals out of the courtroom and in jail. Families seeking justice were left waiting for judicial action.
"I sat for a long time with a victim who couldn't stop crying. It’s so hard for me to talk about it... It's no cancellation to her that we are in a new courthouse because she'll never get to speak to her loved one again,” said State Attorney Angela Corey.
Corey says the courthouse crisis created a backlog in cases. She says her office will do whatever it takes to get back on track. “Our senior lawyers have been very good about measuring the cases that need to be heard immediately."
Judge Virginia Norton is hearing the first death penalty case in the new courthouse. Andrew King is accused of killing mother of three Felicia Burney, and her unborn child. Jury selection for King's murder trial started today. After nearly four weeks of stalled court sessions, Burney’s family can finally seek justice.
With about 30 cases awaiting trial, Judge Mallory Cooper says it could take up to two months to get caught up.
“We're going to have to have more cases on our calendar for a few weeks, set a few trials quicker to make up for the ones we didn't get to have,” said Cooper.