As a result of more a higher crime rate and more arrests in the county, the Newton County District Attorney's Office has subsequently been required to prosecute more cases.
Newton County District Attorney Ken Wynne said the seven assistant district attorneys on staff in Newton County each handle an average of 450 cases at any given time.
"It's humanly impossible to get all the cases through in the manner that we would like," Wynne said.
The 10 murders in the past 12 months have only compounded the problem for the DA's office.
Wynne said non death penalty case take a year or more completely prosecute, while a death penalty case takes two years or more and can sometimes last as long as six years.
"There's so much more scrutiny in those cases," Wynne said. "Defense lawyers are allowed extra time in those cases. And I'm not opposed to that. These cases are very serious and should be handled that way."
As a result of the number of major crimes occurring in Newton County, Wynne has given more responsibility to Chief Assistant District Attorney Layla Hinton.
"We recently tweaked the system in our office," Wynne said. "Layla Hinton now handles many major felony, fraud and non-death penalty cases."
Wynne still handles all the death penalty cases himself. He works in conjunction with an investigator who assists in locating witnesses, gathering evidence, conducting follow up interviews, assembling the case file, gathering reports and maintaining the evidence room.
"Really the most enjoyable part of my job is prosecuting cases," Wynne said, who is currently handling 56 cases himself.
Unfortunately, Wynne said he only spends 10 to 15 percent of his work time in the courtroom. The rest of his time is spent reviewing and gathering evidence and documents for his cases.
"You have to know every aspect of your case as a good trial lawyer," Wynne said.
So when thousands of pages of medical documents are introduced into evidence, Wynne has personally to read through every page. While he trusts his investigator, Wynne said only he knows how every piece of evidence will fit into the big picture.
Wynne has been a prosecutor since Aug. 22, 1988, and during that time, has seen the system change dramatically.
"It was all much simpler back then," Wynne said. "It has decreased efficiency."
In the old days, the defense and prosecution would often share their file to more proficiently resolve the issue, Wynne said. In today's legal system, this is known as opting in and must be done in court.
Wynne also serves as the DA in Walton County where he and six other ADAs prosecute hundreds more cases.