State Supreme Court recommends several additional area judgeships


Published: Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 11:40 p.m.

The Florida Supreme Court recommended the Legislature fund positions for three new area judges, one for the Gainesville area's six-county court circuit and one each for Alachua and Columbia counties.

The recommendation came Thursday as part of the court's report to the Legislature on the need for additional judicial positions around the state.

The court found the state should fund positions for 19 new circuit court judges and 42 additional county court judges to deal with Florida's criminal and civil case load.

But getting that funding could be difficult as the state scrambles with tightening budgets , the court acknowledged.

"We recognize that the state of Florida is once again facing revenue issues that may impact the ability to place additional resources into the judicial system," the court wrote.

"Nevertheless, in accordance with our constitutional obligation, we encourage the Florida Legislature to authorize the judgeships identified in this opinion as they are targeted to counties and circuits with sustained growth in judicial workload and unsatisfied needs."

The court noted there has been an increase in case filings including drug crimes, mortgage foreclosures, family cases and county court cases.

The 8th Judicial Circuit, which the court has recommended should have another judge, covers Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties.

The circuit currently has 13 judges.

Alachua County now has five judges, while Columbia County has one.

Lise Fisher can be reached at 352-374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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