While the hand of justice is long, it is not always fast moving, so some trials can go on for decades. We have created a list of some of the longest running criminal cases ever.
Sometimes it might seem like the justice system is taking forever to reach its final goal – whether it was because of lack of evidence, missing witnesses, compromised attorneys or a shaky legal system, these cases lasted not for years, but for decades, and we just had to take a look into them and understand why.
The longest running minor abuse court case
In 1984 Ira Reiner, the district attorney of Los Angeles served as a prosecutor in what turned out to be the longest criminal trial in the US history at the time. The case began when, in 1983, Judy Johnson a mother of a child started claiming that a teacher at the McMartin Pre-School Ray Buckey had sodomized her son. This case lasted from 1984 to 1990 and tax payers funded all of the 15 million dollars that were needed to prosecute McMartin Pre-School for 7 years.
The case ended in acquittal due to the fact that there was simply not enough evidence surrounding the claim made by Mrs. Johnson. The case caused an uproar and the police sent a letter to 200 different families that had children at the McMartin school asking the parents to question their children about the possible abuse. However, both the way the prosecution gathered evidence to put Ray Buckey behind bars and the person who reported the abuse (Mrs. Johnson) were flawed.
Not only did experts deem the interview techniques used on the children were leading the kids to tell what the interviewer wanted to make them say, but some of the kids admitted that they lied to appease the adults who were asking the questions.
Another thing to be kept in mind was that Judy Johnson was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. For a while, she was actually held in a hospital due to how severe her illness was. She was also an alcoholic who was found dead in 1986 due to her alcoholism. One of the allegations made against Ray Buckey by Judy Johnson was that she believed he could fly.
In the end, Ray Buckey spent five years in jail without being convicted of any wrongdoing whatsoever.
The longest mob lawsuit
The New Jersey branch of the Lucchese crime family is a powerful fraction of the criminal organization. During the early eighties, an operation has been started to try and eliminate any and all organized crime activities in the area of New Jersey.
The investigation was a long one and after four years 20 members of the Jersey Crew were indicted. The charges were serious, loansharking, racketeering, extortion, illegal gambling, drug trafficking, arson, money laundering, thefts, conspiracy to commit murder and even murder itself.
The trial finally started in late 1986 and it lasted for 21 months. During the trial, one of the defendants, Giacomo DiNorscio actually fired his lawyer and decided to represent himself in court further on. While this move was unexpected, it seems like it worked wonders with the jury, since they acquitted all 20 of the defendants.
The longest kidnap and murder lawsuit
Now it is time to move away from the United States for the longest running criminal case. This time, we will focus on India. The court case in question involved four high ranking police officials and the mother of one of the 3 victims and is the longest running criminal case in the world.
At the stand of the accused stands Sumedh Singh Saini, a DGP (director general of police) of Punjab police who has a mixed reputation due to his dealings with corruption-based matters. He is still facing a trial for an abduction and murder of three people in 1994. According to Amar Kaur, the mother of the victims we were talking about, Saini picked up her sons and eliminated them later on.
Unlike the other trials where the duration was mostly influenced by the lack of gathered evidence, this trial is a long lasting one due to a compromised legal system in India. The accused has been constantly utilizing various delay tactics.
The delay tactics in question have been so effective that out of a total of thirty-six witnesses, after 20 years, only three witnesses have been actually examined.