Effective November 21, 2016, the Superior Court of California, County of Humboldt will modify how it does business to better serve the public. Last year the Court made some changes to facilitate the large number of pending jury trials, which included having all day jury trials, and modified how the criminal calendars were called. The changes that are being made at this time are to make further improvements. As of December 2015 there were approximately 726 pending criminal jury trials; by comparison as of November 2016 there are currently 431 pending criminal jury trials.

“I am the first to say the changes the Court has made is not the sole reason for the reduction in the number of pending criminal jury trials. The Court has designated more time for trials, so the attorneys handling those cases have had to step up in order to be prepared. Change is difficult, and everyone involved in the system has kept an open mind and are doing their best, while vigorously representing their clients. These changes to the criminal calendars are meant to make additional improvements which should prevent delays that the litigants, witnesses, jurors, and public in general often experience, resulting in more consistency, accountability, and an increase in overall access to justice,” states Joyce Hinrichs, the Presiding Judge.

As a broad overview of the Humboldt County Criminal Court, there are four judges and one commissioner assigned to hear criminal matters. Each of the judges are assigned approximately one quarter of the felony caseload, and under the new system they will hear these matters post preliminary hearings through sentencings each morning at 8:30 a.m. After calling their individual calendars, two courtrooms will be conducting jury trials the balance of each day, one court will be hearing preliminary hearings and arraignments, and the other court will be calling felony and misdemeanor calendars. The misdemeanor calendars that are currently called by the commissioner remain unchanged. These changes are outlined on the Court’s website at:

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