Graham County Courts expect to hear almost 700 felony cases this fiscal year

- Sora Shimazaki Photo/Pexels

SAFFORD — The number of criminal cases being heard by the Superior Court of Graham County is on the rise.

That’s according to data shared by Court Administrator Josh Halversen, who was before the Graham County Board of Supervisors on Monday to ask for additional funding for public defense.

“The volume we were prepared to handle was 630 felonies, with the contracts that we set up and started at the beginning of this fiscal year. The projection right now is that we will at least be in the range of — and this is through the fiscal year — 680 or so cases,” Halversen said.

Since January, there have been 569 felony criminal cases filed in Graham County Superior Court.

Graham County Supervisor John Howard said while the county wants to save money, he agreed more help on public defense is needed. However, he took issue with the idea that crime is increasing in Graham County.

“I don’t think our crime is exploding; I just think we have better law enforcement. Our law enforcement (is) getting more cases prosecuted,” Howard said.

To cover the expected increase in cases, Halversen asked for ratification for a new contract with attorney Raymond Geiser for indigent defense in the amount of $38,920. The board approved the new contract unanimously.