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Federal Judicial Emergencies

Federal Judicial Emergencies

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Andrew Blotky and April Carson on the state of judicial emergencies in the nation.
Andrew Blotky and April Carson on the state of judicial emergencies in the nation.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Feb 17, 2012
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11/09/2012

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1Center or American Progress | Federal Judicial Emergencies
Federal Judicial Emergencies
Andrew Blotky and April Carson November 9, 2012
 
Nearly wo-hirds o he naions populaion—175 million Americans—oday are living in a jurisdicion ha has beendeclared a judicial emergency* meaning ha in courrooms across he counry here aren’ enough judges o hear hecases ha are piling up. Te map below depics he areas o he counry where here are ederal disric cours and circuicours o appeal wih judicial emergencies. In pracical erms, i shows where judges are overworked and where jusice is being signicanly delayed or he American public. Te naions ederal cours—where Social Securiy appeals are heard,employmen cases decided, immigraion issues setled, and where Americans vindicae heir consiuional righs—are ina crisis because here simply aren’ enough judges on he bench.
U.S. district and circuit courts currently facing judicial emergencies
* The nonpartisan Administrative Oce o the United States Courts defnes a judicial emergency as: a circuit court vacancy and adjusted case flings greater than700, or an 18-month vacancy and flings between 500 and 700; or a district court vacancy with flings greater than 600, an 18-month vacancy where weightedflings are between 430 and 600, or any court with more than one judgeship and only one active judge.
 
2Center or American Progress | Federal Judicial Emergencies
Six judicial emergencies at the federal circuit court level:
 As o November 9, 2012, here are six judicial emergencies in he ollowing circui cours: (2) Fih Circui —exas, Louisiana, Mississippi(1) Sevenh Circui —Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin (1) Ninh Circui — Alaska, Washingon, Oregon, Idaho, Monana, Caliornia, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii (2) Elevenh Circui Cour o Appeals — Alabama, Georgia, Florida
 Twenty-seven judicial emergencies at the district court level:
 As o November 9, 2012, here are 27 judicial emergencies in he ollowing disric cours: (1) Easern Disric o New York  (1) Wesern Disric o New York  (2) Middle Disric o Pennsylvania (1) Easern Disric o Norh Carolina (2) Easern Disric o exas (1) Wesern Disric o exas (1) Easern Disric o Michigan (1) Norhern Disric o Illinois (1) Wesern Disric o Wisconsin (2) Disric o Arizona (3) Cenral Disric o Caliornia (2) Easern Disric o Caliornia (4) Norhern Disric o Caliornia (2) Middle Disric o Florida (1) Souhern Disric o Florida (2) Norhern Disric o Georgia
What does this mean for average Americans?
In Arizona, he ederal disric cour’s elony caseload has nearly doubled in jus wo years rom 3,023 in 2008 o5,219 in 2010—seting he cour on an unsusainable pah ha will drown ou oher liigan’s abiliy o seek jusice. Arizona’s disric cour, declared a judicial emergency in January 2011, enaced a yearlong suspension o ederally mandaed speedy rial limiaions because o he cour’s vacancy crisis. In souh exas, a ederal rial judges criminalcaseload can be nearly six imes he normal caseload. As exas ederal Judge W. Royal Furgeson explains, his meansha judges are oen only able o devoe as much ime o major rials as judges in “nigh rac cour” have ime odevoe o small nes or minor driving ofenses. As a resul, employers and workers can wai years o remove hecloud o uncerainy a legal complain imposes upon heir businesses or o vindicae heir righs.For more inormaion on judicial vacancies and nominaions, go o www.judicialnominaions.org.

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