Hinds court’s docket reduced despite DeLaughter’s suspension

Criminal cases awaiting trial in Hinds County are down about 8 percent this year, and the county’s top prosecutor says a backlog of cases going back several years virtually has been wiped out.

The Hinds judicial system has been criticized for the pace at which cases come to trial.

Flora police officer Henry Ledlow Sr., the father of a Jackson murder victim, said Thursday he has been told it will be next year before his son’s accused killer comes to trial.

Benjamin Clark, 24, is charged with breaking into an apartment in February 2007 and killing Henry Ledlow.

He’s also charged with taking Caroline Cockrell, Ledlow’s fiancee, to Alabama with him.

Hinds County Public Defender Bill LaBarre said it seems like cases are moving more quickly through the system but that he has no numbers to back that up.

“We have resolved a lot of old cases,” LaBarre said.

Circuit Judge L. Breland Hilburn, a special judge, has worked for years to dispose of old cases. He and special Judge William Coleman are handling the docket of suspended Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter. They are being paid out of the state Supreme Court’s general fund.

Their terms are up June 30.