Thursday, January 27, 2011

Federal courts in Arizona declare judicial emergency

Amanda Bronstad of the National Law Journal reports that the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona has declared a judicial emergency that will temporarily lift the deadline for moving criminal defendants to trial.  Chief Judge Roslyn Silver acted on the late U.S. District Judge John Roll's request last year to declare an emergency in the district, which has one of the highest caseloads in the country due to actions involving illegal immigration and drug smuggling. Roll was killed in the recent shootings in Tucson, Arizona.

The order took effect immediately and will last until February 19.  For links to various documentes related to trhe order, see here.

In the District of Arizona, criminal case filings have increased by 65% since 2008, when federal authorities ramped up enforcement near the border. The bulk of the caseload is assigned to the Tucson division, where three judges handle about 1,200 cases each and two of the district's three vacancies are located. The district has 13 authorized judgeships and is eligible for five additional judgeships. Visiting judges from other courts have been assisting the district.


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