A state commission responsible for redrawing judicial districts has released a slate of proposals aimed at making the court system more able to handle its growing caseload. But in the end, the commission’s work may only underscore the need for more judges, not judicial redistricting. The legislature established the commission last year to study if realigning the boundaries of the state’s 22 judicial districts might ease the pressures on courts because of the growing number of cases. “We’ve got to answer the question that the legislature gave us. The answer may be to redraw these lines … or the answer may be that redrawing the lines won’t help,” said District Court Judge Gregory Todd of Billings, who chairs the commission. “For the commission to do its job, it needs to look at some of these specific proposals and say why they won’t help.”
The commission will review six proposals drafted by its members when it reconvenes April 6 at the state Capitol. At least one proposal would increase the number of districts by one to 23, while other proposals could combine districts to help free up judges with lower caseloads to absorb work from busier courts.
But none of the proposals calls for adding more judges, even if recent studies suggest that at least 21 more judges are needed.
Full Article: Panel considers options to ease growing burden on courts.