In the News

Shortage of prosecutors, judges leads to widespread court backlogs (Stateline)

Stateline, January 25, 2024 

Shortage of prosecutors, judges leads to widespread court backlogs 

Judges on other lower courts are tasked with stepping in when there are vacancies on state supreme courts, even if they were not initially elected for such roles, said Elizabeth Kocienda, the New York City Bar Association’s director of advocacy. This practice leads to backlogs in criminal, civil and family law cases, as lower court judges must handle cases outside their usual purview. And this routine reassignment contributes to vacancies on the lower courts, exacerbating the existing backlog, Kocienda said. ‘You end up with this mishmash of judges that are sitting on the supreme court with varying levels of experience, varying levels of all different practice areas,’ Kocienda said. ‘They weren’t necessarily intended for that court, so it just creates a lot of downstream problems in other areas.’