By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Poder Judicial said Thursday that flagrancy courts would be opened up in five new locations. They are Liberia, Santa Cruz, Pococí, San Carlos and Corredores.

The Tribunales de Flagrancias handle cases where criminals are caught red-handed or nearly so. Such courts now exist in  Heredia, Alajuela, Cartago, Puntarenas and Limón as well as the initial one in the Tribunales de Goicoechea.

The extension of the system was authorized by a vote of the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

The system is called the Programa Nacional de Flagrancias,  planners in the Poder Judicial said that the initial courts so far have given a good account of themselves.

The new courts will allow cases to be resolved in a few days or weeks when the crimes are simple, said José Manuel Arroyo, the court magistrate in charge of the program.

In each of the new locations, the Poder Judicial is assigning an additional judge, an additional prosecutor and an additional defense lawyer as well as an assistant. The new courts are expected to be in operation in July.

The flagrancy courts generally handle cases like robbery or crimes against property which are clear cut. A standard criminal case may take months or years to resolve with a hearing and a full trial.

By next year, the court is expected to extend the flagrancy concept to the rest of the country.

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