Florida Record

Thursday, September 19, 2019

State Supreme Court's call for more judges in Orange County not necessary, local attorney says

By Chandra Lye | Feb 2, 2017

ORLANDO — Despite a Supreme Court decision, Orange County is not in need of any new circuit judges, according to a local civil-litigation attorney.

Ken Eulo, who according to his firm's website interned at the attorney general’s office, Criminal Appeals Bureau and also with the public defender’s office for the 9th Judicial Circuit in Orlando, said he has found Orange County to be one of the better court systems in the state.

“I have never had a problem or an issue with getting stuff done properly, thoroughly and appropriately in Orange County,” he told the Florida Record.

“In theory, it makes sense,” he added. “In Orange County, you look at the number of cases that they are looking at and dealing with, and it is more. It is more that other counties. You walk over to Brevard or, say, Manatee, the number of cases that are actually in the courtroom seems like it is significantly less.”

However, despite the caseload, Orange County has a system that works, according to Eulo.

“I had four cases the other day in Brevard. It took us, to deal with four cases, from 1:30 until 5 o’clock at night. You never see that in Orange County. Orange County stuff moves a lot faster,” he said.

The court document was developed by the state Supreme Court following a workload study that monitored more than 900 trial-court judges. The study found that caseloads had dropped 17 percent for circuit judges between 2012 and 2014. The decrease in real-estate lawsuits appeared to be a factor for the decline.

The study also showed there was a 23 percent drop in caseloads for county judges, which was partly attributable to the slowdown in drunk-driving cases.

The Florida Supreme Court has acknowledged that despite the drop in workload, some of the cases are more complex, and many litigants have opted to represent themselves, which places extra demands on judges.

Since the report, released in May 2016, there has been a request made to add three more judges to the 9th Judicial Circuit in Orange County, according to an article by the Orlando Sentinel. There has been no response from the Legislature, which has not added any new judges in the last 10 years.

Eulo said he wasn’t convinced that the move was necessary.

“I think that other counties should look at the way Orange County is doing stuff and how efficient they are doing stuff,” he said.

“I think they have a lot of stuff on their plate, but I think they are doing a great job.”

The case weights were last updated in 2007, according to court documents. There has been a recommendation to update the case weights information at least every five years. The report also recommended a study be done on the workload of trial court law clerks and staff attorneys. It also went further and recommended the Office of State Courts Administrator look into the jobs and work of “quasi-judicial officers like magistrate courts, child-support enforcement hearing officers, and civil traffic-infraction hearing officers.”

There are 36 circuit judges working in Orange County and seven in Osceola for a total of 43 circuit judges in the 9th Judicial Circuit, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

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