Massive Backlog in Montgomery County Court, United Way Day of Action

Jun 27, 2016

Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences

The Montgomery County District Attorney says his county’s court system is drowning in a massive backlog of pending drug cases.

District Attorney Daryl Bailey tells the Montgomery Advertiser that a backlog of more than 1600 cases means that anybody arrested for drug-related charges would currently be waiting more than two years for trial as evidence is processed.

Bailey says the state's budget crisis and staff cuts mean the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences is struggling to keep up with the number of cases it needs to analyze.

Because it could take years for accused drug offenders to go to trial, Bailey says many suspects post bail and quickly return to being involved in crimes without having received any punishment or help for the offenses with which they were charged.

The United Way of Northwest Alabama is sponsoring its annual Day of Action.

The group is teaming up with the Homeless Care Council and the Success By Six organization to collect food and preschool supplies. The event aims to gather and distribute supplies throughout Colbert, Lauderdale and Franklin counties.

Beth Haddock is the executive director for the local United Way. She says the group is looking for items like peanut butter, crackers, and paper plates. But, there are other needs that aren’t as obvious.

“What if they don’t have a can opener? So we’ve requested things like can openers and plastic utensils and reusable grocery bags so that they can carry these items. But as far as the food goes, canned meat that’s easily accessible, preferably with the pop-off tops.”

Haddock says items needed for the homeless and for Northwest Alabama preschools are listed on United Way of North Alabama’s website. Items can be dropped off at any time at any CB&S Bank location in Colbert, Lauderdale or Franklin counties, or at the United Way Office in Florence.

A brand new organization serving Tuscaloosa’s LGBT community is hoping to become a bit more official.

Druid City Pride formed late last year with the main goal of organizing Tuscaloosa’s Pride festival each October. But organizers say lots of unexpected interest and recent events inspired them to become an advocacy group as well.

Druid City Pride held a fundraiser Saturday to raise money for applying as an official nonprofit organization. A portion of the proceeds also went to the victims’ fund of the Orlando shooting.

Meredith Bagley is a member of the Druid City Pride board. She says the group is pushing hard to register as a 501(c)(3) organization by the end of the year.

“So as part of that goal, we’re doing what we’re calling the Founders Circle, which is a 100 dollar donation or more. And it comes with a certain degree of recognition within the organization. We’d like to list people’s names on the website to recognize them. We’re just going to run it for this calendar year, so it’s a chance to get in and really help grow the organization from the very beginning.”

Those interested can contribute online at DruidCityPride dot com.