First up for Di Mango and the additional judgesdescribed by Lippman in an interview as a judicial "SWAT team"will be the 271 felony cases that are three years old or older.
In all, the Bronx has 931 felony cases that are two years or older, compared to 217 pending cases that old in Manhattan, which has the next largest backlog.
The Bronx has 3,690 felony cases73 percent of the totalthat are older than six months, which is the benchmark used by the court system to evaluate performance in superior courts.
That compares to 44 percent of pending felonies exceeding the standard in Manhattan, 48 percent in Brooklyn, 52 percent in Queens and 25 percent on Staten Island.
In the new part, cases will be tried in the Bronx, with the volunteer judges availing themselves to "unused and renovated courthouse space," said Lippman.
Apart from the influx of volunteers, Lippman said the courts would be "instituting strict case management practices," such as shorter adjournments, earlier return dates, the appointment of case coordinators and the centralized drafting of motion decisions.
Currently, 31 judges handle felony matters in the Bronx while 14 preside over misdemeanor cases.
Lippman noted in his speech that in the long run "a sufficient number of judges is essential for the court to be able to effectively manage its formidable caseloads."
The court system assigned some new judges to the Bronx earlier this month after Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed Criminal Court judges, Lippman said. More judicial appointments from the city are expected in the coming months "and when they are made we will use that opportunity to assign additional judges to that court, while making sure that the present judicial levels are, at the very least, maintained in the other boroughsso they can continue their own successes in reducing their older caseloads."
Lippman said after his speech that the goal of the new initiative is to "at least" make the Bronx's felony backlog levels comparable to the other boroughs.