Arizona Getting Fed Court Judges, Relief

The U.S. Senate is set to approve six federal judges to the Arizona district, a move expected to relieve a backlog that has resulted in years-long waits for civil trials and an emergency declaration to avoid the constitutional demand for a speedy criminal trial.

The Associated Press reports that “… according to the U.S. District Court website, then Chief District Judge Rosalyn Silver declared a judicial emergency in 2011 to temporarily suspend the time limit imposed on bringing defendants to trial. The Speedy Trial Act mandates that a federal criminal trial begin within 70 days after a criminal complaint or indictment is filed. A judicial emergency can extend that deadline to a maximum of 180 days.”

The notes that the federal courts have relied on visiting judges from other states and temporary use of retired judges. One official told the AP that “… civil cases have been hurt by the backlog as well. He is hoping that judges will now have more time to devote to civil matters. Right now in a busy court like Arizona’s, it is not unusual to wait as long as three years for a civil trial to start.”