The speed of case disposition in Orange County -- the time it takes to go to trial after arrest -- not only affects the lives of suspects and victims, but it often affects the quality of the trial as well.
Orange County cases go to trial in a respectable amount of time, District Attorney Carl Fox said.
"We rank about seventh position out of 39 in the entire state in terms of case disposition," Fox said.
Robert Farb, professor of law and government at the UNC Institute of Government, where court personnel are trained, said the lack of a speedy trial would be the most detrimental in murder cases, when the suspect could be in jail for two or three years awaiting trial.
"Sometimes, if someone is in jail awaiting trial, they're awaiting their liberty," he said.
The set date for a disposition varies by case and is scheduled by the court, the district attorney and the defense based on a number of factors: availability of witnesses, preparation of the defense, whether the suspect pleads insanity, evidence and its analyses, and the types of charges, Fox said.
Charges such as murder, rape and sexual offense take much more time because they involve evidence that requires more analysis, Fox said.
A majority of Orange County cases go to trial in what Fox calls an "excellent" time frame: rape and sexual offense within 131 days, robbery within 70 days, larceny within 67 days, arson within 27 days and forgery within 77 days, according to an Orange County Superior Court Criminal Aging Analysis report from July through December.
Only one murder case was analyzed in this report, and its length was 269 days, which Fox does not consider to be excellent. But this case is by no means the most lengthy.