Nearly 500 pending trials await newly sworn-in District Attorney Steve Mulroy

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 7:03 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Steve Mulroy took over as Shelby County District Attorney on Thursday.

However, like so many other counties in Tennessee, Shelby County is dealing with a serious backlog in cases.

On day one he already has hundreds of pending trials.

The backlog can be particularly difficult for families waiting for justice.

“Every day of my life. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her,” said Jeanette Addison, who lost her daughter, Choosey Parker, to gun violence.

It’s been more than four years since Parker was gunned down outside of a Downtown Memphis nightclub.

Alan Neal, then 27, was arrested and charged shortly after the shooting.

That was 2018, but in 2022 the case is still making its way through court.

Neal pleaded guilty in July to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

He’ll be sentenced later this month.

”I saw him for the first time in four years in court and I was able to do my testimonial, and I told him that I forgave him, and I told him that I loved him and it was like a weight had been lifted off me,” Addison said.

The wheels of justice turn slowly, which is particularly true in Shelby County where thousands of cases matriculate through the often-understaffed District Attorney’s office.

On Thursday, Mulroy said he’s adding 465 pending trials to his long list of things to do.

“Well, you know it’s just my first day, so I’m not going to say that I have any magic bullet solutions on my first day,” Mulroy said. “However, I’ve already had discussions with the transition team and some of the staff, too, about ways to reorganize the staff in a way to make the disposition of cases more efficient and that might include the kind of latitude a lot of attorneys have to settle cases.

Mulroy says the courts are still catching up from the pandemic shutdown of 2020.

Hundreds of pending trials, plus an average of 220,00 new cases added each year, can all add up to frustration for waiting loved ones.

Mulroy says he understands justice delayed is justice denied, and he plans to work with state and county officials to address the ongoing backlog.

For families waiting for their day in court, Addison offers this advice:

“I had to pray. I had to put it in God’s hands,” Addison said.

Neal is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 23.

Addison says video shows that her daughter was attempting to break up a fight when she was accidentally shot.

After making virtually every court date in her daughter’s case, she says she will not be able to make what will likely be the last one.

She has since moved to Houston and says living in the city where her daughter was murdered is simply too difficult.

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