TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – The Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office requested funds from the Vigo County Council to help alleviate some of the backlog and expenses brought on by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Robert Roberts requested an initial $10,000 from the council to help fund expenses that stem from depositions. Normally, the prosecutor’s office would have a $30,000 budget for such expenses, but that money has been exhausted.
“We’ve had a large number of cases go to jury trial this year including some very high profile and expensive cases,” Roberts said. “We’ve pretty much exhausted that budget for this year.”
Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt said that his office currently has 3,500 active cases. He said that the slow down of the courts is the prime reason for the backlog.
“It is overwhelming, but we’re getting the job done,” Modesitt said. “We’ve had a number of trials already since the courts have opened back up here.”
Another aspect that further complicates the backlog of court cases is the Vigo County Jail. The jail is operating at 100% capacity which makes it difficult for Modesitt and his deputies to try cases knowing that they have a full capacity jail.
“Now, because of the jail overcrowding, we’ve had to let a lot of people out that the courts and our office all felt should’ve been there or we would’ve let them out to start with,” Modesitt explained.
Despite the current circumstances, Modesitt stated that the prosecutor’s office will be committed to keeping the public safe.
“It’s a matter about keeping the public safe and that’s what it is all about,” Modesitt said. “We do not want people released from the jail that we’re concerned are going to reoffend.”
Modesitt said the prosecutor’s office is looking to bring in two additional deputy prosecutors.