All the Court Wants for Christmas is 35 Judgeships

Jacek Stramski|

On December 22, 2014, the Supreme Court addressed a holiday wish list to the Legislature pursuant to its constitutional duty to provide an annual report on the need for additional judges. In re: Certification of Need for Additional Judges (SC14-2350).
Given that the state has seen no increase in trial judges since 2007 (and that in spite of the flood of foreclosure litigation that followed the housing crash), it is unsurprising that the Court certified a need for 35 judgeships across the state, including 3 circuit seats and 32 county seats. The Court noted waits of several weeks to schedule motion hearings in some circuits, as well as increased procedural complexity in various types of cases, to justify the need for additional circuit judges. It also noted the loss of traffic infraction hearing officers as driving a need for more county judgeships. Nevertheless, the certified need for new judges is lower than last year, when the Court ceritified a need for 7 circuit judges, 39 county judges, and 3 appellate judges.
In contrast to last year, the Court did not certify a need for additional appellate judges.
The upcoming legislative session will show whether the Legislature thought the Court was naughty or nice, and if any of its requests will be granted.