Gavel

By Brian Rokos, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 04/14/16 – 1:21 PM PDT |

A state judicial panel has proposed redistributing vacant judgeships from counties where there are too many to counties where there are too few, including Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where a lack of judges has caused hundreds of cases to be dismissed.

The action, detailed in a report sent Tuesday to Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, addresses a call last year from Gov. Jerry Brown to balance the workload and distribution of existing judgeships before adding more.

The most recent Judicial Needs Assessment Report, issued in 2014, estimated that almost 270 new judges are needed statewide — and more than one-third of that need comes from the Inland counties.

The trial courts in Riverside and San Bernardino have only 60 percent of the judges they need, according to the report from the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System. Meanwhile, trial courts elsewhere have more judges than necessary to handle their needs. Alameda County has three vacant judgeships and Santa Clara County has two, the report notes.

From January 2007 to June 2009, 374 felony and misdemeanor cases were dismissed in Riverside County because cases reached their last day to be heard and no judge was available.

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