By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One week from today, there will be major changes in how and where many criminal cases will be handled in Philadelphia. “Zone courts,”  will make a busy courthouse even busier but authorities say the system should be more efficient.

Many felony preliminary hearings have been heard in the police districts and divisions but beginning next week these felony cases will go directly to the criminal justice center to specific floors based on the six police divisions or zones.

Authorities say there will be many benefits starting with efficiency. Deputy District Attorney Edward McCann said it is estimated that about 70 to over 100 additional cases a day will go to the CJC:

“I don’t think the increase is going to be completely dramatic. I think it will be significant. Obviously a lot of people, including myself and people who work with me, are very concerned about the building.”

They are concerned because the buildings’ six public elevators are already insufficient for crowds on many mornings. Some defense attorneys predict the inconvenience of the Center City location will only exacerbate the problem of defendants, witnesses, and victims failing to show up for court.

Reported by: Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio

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