From NPR

Safe harbor laws are introduced to protect those minors who are forced to prostitute themselves.

New York has probably one of the most comprehensive safe harbor laws. Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida, there are a few states that are doing this specifically with children. Washington, D.C., for example, has a court. And basically, this has been a whole series of individual judges seeing these cases coming through their courts and becoming passionate and involved on the issue and being willing to work with prosecutors, the defense bar and service providers to establish these problem-solving courts.

What's the meaning of come through here? I guessed it should mean arrived at the court. But After looking up the word through in the dictionary, I found that through means pass a place, not arrive at a place. If someone wants to express arrive at someplace using through, he might want through to someplace, right? But what's the meaning of "coming through" in the quote? Does it mean the case only pass the court instead of arriving at the court?

  • 2
    From the judge's perspective, sitting in the court, the cases come one by one, they enter the courtroom, get a judgement, and leave. So they may be thought to "pass through" the courtroom. Another way that cases could "pass through" a court is if they were on their way to the supreme court. But I don't think this is the case here.
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 4:13
  • 2
    come through (law/court)- be processed and notified (the concerned person). It's here oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/…
    – Maulik V
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 5:34
  • 1
    It's only speech, from a speaker who's either not that good at choosing her words anyway, or is maybe a bit nervous in front of a microphone. If you look at all her utterances, they're often a bit "clunky". Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 5:47

1 Answer 1


In this instance the word "through" is a preposition is used to indicate that similar cases have appeared before the court. Its definition is in at the first step of a process, treatment, or method of handling, passing through subsequent steps or stages in order, and finished, accepted, or out of the last step or stage.

Although many litigators and jurists will use the phrase "appeared before" in a similar vein, when they are speaking with the media or non-attorneys, the the word "through" adequately explains the transition of a legal matter through the judicial system.



You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .