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.
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