Judge shortages in Orange, Osceola counties

A shortage of judges is causing a big delay for taxpayers in Orange and Osceola counties, according to Ninth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Fred Lauten.

"We are in a growing region and we need help," he says. "[People are] having to wait months to get a hearing because of the high volume of cases."

Cases such as child support, divorce, mortgage issues and other civil hearings could be delayed for a long time.

"We're talking months to years," Chief Judge Fred Lauten adds. 

There are 65 judges in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, and right now, they're overloaded.

"The civil division the judges carry about 2,500 active cases in the family division the judges have about 25,000 open cases."

Judge Lauten said he would like the Florida Legislature to approve three more judges.

"Judges are working at night and on the weekends to keep up with this case load and having to handle hearings as quickly as possible."