The Missoula County Attorney’s office has had a busy year and things aren’t getting any easier around the holidays. In November alone there were nine trials handled by the County Attorney’s Office. Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Clark says each trial requires a lot of effort.

"A lot of preparation time goes into a trial: meeting with witnesses, meeting with officers, scheduling those witnesses to make sure we can get them in," Clark said. "Getting travel arranged if necessary, making sure that the witnesses are ready to testify, making sure we have our evidence and that it will come in, there are a lot of legal issues that pop up that we also have to address before a trial."

Because of the work load of each trial, many cases are pleaded out before they ever get to trial.  A leading cause of the busy trial schedule is the uptick in a number of serious crimes.

"It has been extremely busy, we have seen an increase in our violent crimes, in our partner assault crimes, and our drug crimes," Clark said. "It ebbs and flows, just like anything and this year has just been a very busy year for these offenses. We are looking into it to see if there is any reason why we have an increase in numbers."

Last week the County attorney’s office filed charges on three partner assaults cases involving one felony, an assault with a weapon, and an assault on a police officer case. There were also two DUI charges involving a criminal endangerment charge and a child endangerment charge. Clark said it was a “light” week.