Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Florida Supreme Court: Certification of Need for Additional Judges

In In re: Certification of Need for Additional Judges, the Florida Supreme Court fulfilled its constitutional obligation and sent a report to the Legislature regarding the various needs of the judiciary.
The Court noted the following regarding the circuit & county courts: "Several of our chief judges note, in particular, the long waits associated with obtaining hearing times. In some jurisdictions, dockets are so full that it takes several weeks to schedule a hearing." I imagine many lawyers in South Florida would be thrilled if it only took several weeks to obtain a hearing time. But, the Court's point is certainly correct.
With regard to the appellate courts, I found the following to be particularly interesting: "The Second District also notes that despite high caseloads and a reduction in resources including personnel, the judges and staff have made every effort to properly execute their responsibilities. However, they do so knowing that trying to absorb this increased workload limits the time available for the consideration of each case and the writing of opinions. This Court shares the concerns of the chief judge of the Second District and remains concerned about a diminished quality of justice resulting from high workload and a loss of resources." (emphasis supplied).
The Court certified the need for one additional Second District judge. The needs of the circuit and county court were included in an appendix to the opinion, which is copied at the bottom of this post. In what is a somewhat sad concluding statement, given the real need for new judges, the Court said: "To the extent funding is available, we urge the Legislature also to consider our certified need for additional judges."


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