By Jacek Stramski

On December 19, 2013, the Florida Supreme Court fulfilled its constitutional duty under Article V, section 9 of the Florida Constitution, and issued its determination regarding the need for additional judges. In Re: Certification of Need for Additional Judges (SC13-2296). The Court concluded that there is a total statewide need for 49 additional judges, including 46 trial judges (7 in the various circuit courts and 39 in county courts) and 3 appellate judges.

The Court noted that while new case filings in most case categories have decreased over the last year, the net average caseload over the past three years remains high. This high caseload, combined with budget constraints, staff reductions, and increased complexity of certain actions, has resulted in significant wait times required to schedule hearings, and especially for complex hearings and jury trials. That in turn has resulted in increased case resolution times. The Court also pointed out that the reduction of traffic infraction hearing officers has increased the demand for judicial resources at the county court level. This need is most pronounced in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where the Court certified a need for 11 and 6 additional judges respectively. The two district courts of appeal that need appellate judges are the Second and Fifth districts, where the Court noted that judges have an average respective caseload of 325 and 330 cases.

Justice Delayed – Supreme Court Certifies Need for Additional Judges in Florida

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