House approves measure to downsize judiciary

The Michigan House on Tuesday approved a package of bills that will cut the number of trial judges in the state by 36 through attrition.

The original bipartisan legislation passed by the House in December proposed eliminating 41 trial court judgeships. The Senate amended the bills and reduced the number to 36.

''The last time we eliminated judgeships in Michigan was more than a decade ago, and even though the current reduction is not as sweeping as we first envisioned, it is a huge step toward reforming the judiciary, assuring access to justice and saving taxpayer money,'' said state Rep. John Walsh, R- Livonia, chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

.The legislation was recommended in a report compiled by the State Court Administrative Offices. Past reports have urged similar reductions, but the recommendations were not acted upon. The current report received the support of the Michigan Supreme Court and all three state judge's associations.

''This will in no way affect a citizen's right to a speedy trial or full access to justice through the court system,'' Walsh said. ''It is overdue reform that will save taxpayer money in the long run, and will bring our judicial system to the correct size.''

The package - House Bills 5071-77, 5093-95 and 5101-08 - now goes to the governor for his signature.

Published: Thu, Feb 16, 2012

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