While courts across New York are reopening, state district attorneys say they don’t expect to be caught up for years.
In Rensselaer County, a homicide case from three years ago has just been scheduled for October.
In Onondaga County, the backlog includes almost 60 homicides and more than 100 serious felonies.
"We’re not going to get back to normal for at least 18 months, perhaps as long as two years," Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said.
These aren’t isolated instances, as courts statewide say they’re having the same problems.
Right now, the state Office of Court Administration will only allow one trial at a time because of COVID-19 restrictions.
For Fitzpatrick, the math doesn't add up.
"That’s 160 weeks, you know, you’re talking over three years," says Fitzpatrick.
Counties say an increasing number of victims and witness no longer want to testify, sometimes deciding that it’s no longer in their best interest.
"The part that I think is so frustrating is we had witnesses ready to go in grand jury who were ready to take that important step up, and we had to tell them, sorry, maybe in the fall,” said Mary Pat Donnelly, Rensselaer County district attorney. “And then you go through the entire summer with so many unknowns and so much going on that they just weren’t there anymore when it was time.”
DAs also say they’re also still dealing with delays because of discovery reform measures.
All of this means victims and their families are waiting longer for their day in court.
It is something prosecutors are working on.
"We are here every day prepared for whatever the next curveball is. We made it through January 2020, we’re going to make it through this," said Donnelly.
"I have the patience of Job,” said Fitzpatrick. “If I have to wait 18 months, it’s never too late to do the right thing. But we’re going to get justice for those families.”