12:27 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

NM Courts Ask Lawmakers For More Judges

The chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court says the state's court system needs more judges to deal with a backlog of cases.  In a speech Tuesday to a joint session of the Legislature, Chief Justice Petra Jimenez Maes said a lack of judges and a budget squeeze has caused delays in resolving civil and domestic cases.

A study of the court system's workload indicates a need for 23 judges statewide, she said, but the judiciary is asking the Legislature to approve nine in next year's budget. The cost is $3.5 million, which includes judges and support staff.

Maes also appealed to lawmakers to approve a salary increase for court system employees. Like other state workers, judicial employees haven't received a pay raise since 2008.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.