Chief Judge Holderman offered his final State of the Court speech last month.  Judge Castillo takes over as Chief Judge July 1, 2013.  Here are the highlights from the address:

  • “Filings are up and funding is down.” While the state of the court is good, prposped further budget cuts and reduced funding may force reduced services in the future.
  • For the fifth year in a row, overall civil filings were up .
  • Jury trials dropped, going from 177 in 2011 to 168 in 2012.
  • The combined jury trials for 2011 and 2012, however, are the largest number of trials in any two year period as far back as court records go.
  • Patent filings increased from 239 in 2011 to 247 in 2012.. This continued a trend of increased patent filings in every year since the Northern District instiuted its Local Patent Rules in 2009.
  • The Northern District remains in the top 10% of courts in terms of median time to disposition — 6.5 months for civil cases.
  • The Northern District avoided the expected furloughs by not filling staff vacancies. The Clerk’s office is down to two-thirds of its allocated staff. Probation Department personnel may face three day furloughs because of fudning issues in that unit.
  • Three new Article III judge joined the Court — Judges Durkin, Lee and Tharp.
  • The Eastern Division added two magistrates — Magistrate Judges Rowland and Martin.
  • The Western Division added Magistrate Judge Johnston.
  • The Northern District has four judicial vacancies.