Though the effort is set to last for six months, Lippman said that at that time court administrators will "see where we are. Hopefully not in this fix again."
'Living With Uncertainty'
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson voiced enthusiasm for the project in his own remarks following Lippman's speech.
"I can't wait to begin this project," said Johnson, a longtime advocate of more judges for the Bronx. He added that it is "very rare" for a prosecutor's case to "get easier with age." He noted, for example, that "witnesses disappear and memories fade."
Moreover, said Johnson, the backlog has led to defendants and victims "living with uncertainty and anxiety" about the resolution of their cases.
Johnson, whose office has more than 400 prosecutors, said assistants' caseloads will be re-evaluated and, where possible, reassignments will be made to balance pending cases.
Saying yesterday that he had been "screaming as loud as I can for as long as I can" for additional judges, Johnson said, "It's so wonderful to hear there are going to be 10 judges here almost immediately to try cases."
Members of the defense bar also praised the measure.
Steven Banks, the Legal Aid Society's attorney-in-chief, said his organization "stands ready" to work with the courts and the prosecution to tackle the backlog.
Banks thanked Lippman for "making the magic additional ingredient of additional resources available."
Likewise, Marvin Ray Raskin, cochair of the Bronx County Bar Association's criminal law section, thanked Lippman and said, "We will do everything in our control to make the court system function effectively."
In his speech, Lippman acknowledged that the Bronx has long been confronted with large backlogs.