TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court is urging lawmakers to create three new judgeships, along with funding 10 that have been approved but were cut out of this year’s budget by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The Supreme Court on Thursday issued an annual “certification” of need for additional judges. Lawmakers consider the certification when deciding whether to add judgeships.
The certification calls for creating a new circuit-court judgeship in the 14th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties. It also calls for creating two new county-court judgeships in Hillsborough County.
The Legislature during the 2020 session approved creating 10 judgeships, but the positions have not been filled because DeSantis vetoed money for them. The Supreme Court on Thursday urged moving ahead with funding the positions next year.
The nine-page certification report also said a “significant increase in pending workload is anticipated as the courts fully return to normal operations” after having to make changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The additional caseload is attributed to: proceedings, such as jury trials, in existing cases that necessarily were suspended or delayed to protect public health and safety; cases the courts anticipate but that are delayed in filing due to the onset of the pandemic; and new cases stemming from the public health emergency itself or from pandemic-related economic conditions,” the certification said.