* Status - "Judicial Emergency."
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
November 6, 2000
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Make your plans now to attend So. CA. JAIL's Nov. 11th (Veteran's Day) fundraiser. RSVP $20 (or $25 at the door) to Doug Johnson, (818) 895-1239, 8340 Columbus Ave., North Hills, CA. 91343. Event held 11 am., American Legion Hall, 7338 Canby Ave., Reseda, CA. Includes food and a J.A.I.L. T-shirt.Get out your hankies, as the below will make you cry for joy.The judicial dam is cracking and starting to leak!Status - "Judicial Emergency"Wednesday, November 1, 2000
U.S. Judges in San Diego Declare Caseload Emergency
Courts: Congress rejects plea to add jurists. Federal crackdowns on drug smuggling and illegal immigrants have swollen the system.
SAN DIEGO -- U.S. District Court judges here, burdened with the nation's highest federal caseload, have declared a "judicial emergency" after Congress rejected their plea to include money for more judges in a spending bill sent to President Clinton.
Chief Judge Marilyn L. Huff said Tuesday that she and seven colleagues are searching for ways to streamline handling of civil and criminal cases to prevent the courts from becoming paralyzed or cases from being summarily dismissed. Under federal law, criminal cases must be heard in a "timely manner" or dismissed.
"We are in bad shape, with no light at the end of the tunnel," Huff said.
Although the San Diego court, which hears cases from San Diego and Imperial counties, has seen a spiraling number of cases because of a federal crackdown on the smuggling of drugs and illegal immigrants along the Mexican border, repeated requests for additional judges have been ignored.
The U.S. Judicial Conference, representing federal courts nationwide, recommended eight new judge positions for San Diego.
A judiciary appropriations bill passed by Congress, HR4690, included one judge each for 10 overburdened district courts across the United States but none for San Diego, although judicial officials call it the nation's most overcrowded court. Huff spent last week lobbying Congress on behalf of San Diego, to no avail.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said it was "incomprehensible" to her that new judgeships for San Diego had been dropped out of the bill. A Feinstein bill to add judgeships for San Diego died in committee.
The U.S. attorney's office has already begun farming out some drug cases to the district attorneys in San Diego and Imperial counties to be tried in state courts.
U.S. Atty. Gregory Vega said he will meet soon with Huff to work on further case-reduction methods.
"It's tragic that we didn't get more judges," Vega said. "This is not a pro-prosecution issue or a pro-defense issue, this is simply an issue dealing with the fair administration of justice."
....Serrano reported from Washington and Perry reported from San Diego.
Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times
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