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Report: Empty Benches Spell 'Judicial Emergency'

An advocacy group is sounding the alarm about what it is calling a critical shortage of federal judges in Florida. The U.S. government says the nation’s third-largest state should have 37 federal judges.

But Integrity Florida research director Ben Wilcox says his group will release a report next week focusing on four critical vacancies.

“The report will look at how those vacancies impact people’s ability to access the courts and the administration of justice in Florida’s federal court system.”

The vacancies are taking the biggest toll in the Middle and Southern districts, Wilcox says. The federal judicial conference, a policy making body for the federal courts, designated three of the vacancies “judicial emergencies,” Wilcox says.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.