Well, the fact of the matter’s that Missoula has a serious backlog of cases in the 4th Judicial District (which also includes Mineral County), and it’s not going to go away anytime soon.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for this:
- Cases filed in the 4th District court are up by 12.36% this year alone from the 2008-2012 average, according to the Montana District Court’s website.
- Child abuse and neglect cases are up by 31%;
- Criminal cases are up by 20%;
- Warrants and Subpoenas are up by 59%;
- Flathead County is up by 12.4%;
- Cascade County is up by 24%;
- Yellowstone County is up by 27%;
- Lewis and Clark County is up by 2.34%;
Those are the other four counties that are really being pinched for resources. Lewis and Clark might seem a little low, but as you can see form the resource needs map, relative to the number of judges they have, it’s an issue.
So why is this? Mainly it’s because the 2013 legislature didn’t think this was an important need.
Folks, you can see form these maps that several of our larger and fastest-growing counties are facing these tough issues. We need additional judges to handle this caseload so these trials can be finished quickly, and these families can get on with their lives.
That article makes it clear that this issue needs to be on the minds of legislators heading to Helena next year.
I really think that many can get the ball rolling with those unopposed legislators that won’t have an opponent for the general election.
People like Christopher Burke, a democrat who’s running in a tough general election race in Yellowstone County, can also use this issue as a way to show voters that they’re serious about working with the other party on tackling problems that affect us all.
I can’t help but think if more people talk about important things like this with voters, and their willingness to work together with people from across the state, they’ll get elected.