Friday, June 22, 2001

Appeals court in line
for more judges

Going from 4 to 6 could
help clear the backlog of cases

Star-Bulletin staff

Gov. Cayetano signed a bill into law this week that will increase the number of judges from four to six in the state Intermediate Court of Appeals.

"They've authorized it, but they didn't fund it," said Chief Judge James S. Burns of the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Burns said the state Judiciary proposed the measure to eliminate some of the backlog in the appeals court.

The court hears appeals in panels of three, and potentially will be able to hear twice as many cases.

"It gives the Supreme Court the ability to assign more appeals to us," Burns said. The state's high court receives all appeals, and assigns cases it accepts but does not hear to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

"We're hearing cases in the range of one year plus from the time of the notice of appeal," he said.

The new law will not change the way the court operates, Burns said.

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