High court: State needs more judges


Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2004 at 12:08 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE - Florida must add 108 more trial judges to ensure the court system works efficiently, the state Supreme Court said Tuesday.
Florida has 527 circuit judges, 280 county judges and 62 judges on five regional district courts of appeal. But the state's courts need 67 more circuit judges, 41 more county judges and two new DCA judges, Chief Justice Barbara Pariente wrote.
Pariente noted that lawmakers have failed to fund the need for judges over the last several years and warned that could have "serious consequences" for individuals and businesses.
"Only with proper funding of the judicial branch, including funding for additional judgeships, can we ensure that our citizens' constitutional right of access to their courts is protected and that disputes are fairly and timely resolved," she wrote.
Since 2000, the Legislature has authorized fewer than one in five of the judges requested by the court - and no new trial judges have been funded in the last two years.
But the state's courts need 67 more circuit judges, 41 more county judges and two new DCA judges, Chief Justice Barbara Pariente wrote.

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