Judge bemoans slowing pace of justice in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma judge says the pace of the Oklahoma justice system is slowing.

Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott expressed concern about the speed at which criminal defendants are brought to trial during a hearing in which he reluctantly granted a motion to postpone the blackmail and computer crimes trial of the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party, Al Gerhart. Jury selection was set to begin Monday.

Elliott says procrastination and lack of preparation by attorneys is often the reason judges are repeatedly asked to postpone trial dates. A defense attorney in Gerhart's case said he and prosecutors had been working on a plea deal before it became apparent that a delay was necessary.

Elliott set a new trial date for May 5 for Gerhart, who has pleaded not guilty.

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