Photo: U.S. District Judge John M. Roll
This Tuesday, Arizona judges declared a judicial emergency, which allows courts to delay criminal trials up to six months due to a shortage of judges the state is currently suffering from. The Arizona shooting that two weeks ago in Tucson that resulted in the state’s chief jurist only worsened the state’s already bad state.
In the past two year, Arizona federal courts have seen a 65% increase in criminal cases, as well as two empty judicial spots, one of which belonged to U.S. District Judge John M. Roll who was killed in the January 8th attack in which Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was injured.
This emergency declaration may cause a temporary delay in the case of Jared Lee Loughner, the man guilty of the aforementioned attack on Giffords and Roll.
Judicial emergency is a tool used to allow judges to work beyond the bounds of the Speedy Trial Act for 30 days. The last time it was used in New York City after 9/11.
“The need to suspend the time limits is of great urgency due to a heavy criminal case load, a lack of adequate resources, and the tragic death of Chief Judge John Roll,” said Judge Roslyn O. Silver, Roll’s successor as chief judge.