All felony cases (e.g. assault, burglary, narcotics trafficking, robbery, weapon possession, etc.) are ultimately prosecuted in the Superior Courts; i.e. Erie County Court, State Supreme Court and several specialty courts, otherwise referred to as “problem solving courts” by the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA). Approximately 2500 felony cases are prosecuted annually in the Superior Courts of Erie County.
Under prior administrations, a prosecutor assigned to a fully staffed and independent Grand Jury Bureau was responsible for the pre-indictment investigation of a felony case and its presentment to a grand jury. Once indicted, the case was transferred to another prosecutor assigned to the Felony Trial Bureau. The second prosecutor would then be responsible for all post-indictment litigation, including trials. This division of responsibility is now impossible because of the dramatic decrease in the number of prosecutors and support staff occasioned by past budget cuts, as well as an increase in the number of OCA specialty courts. Prosecutors now assigned to the Felony Trial Bureau perform the tasks of their predecessors and the tasks required of former Grand Jury Bureau prosecutors. In other words, each prosecutor’s caseload is effectively doubled because the same Assistant District Attorney is responsible for both the pre-indictment and post-indictment aspects of a felony case.