Chief U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Florida Timothy Corrigan presented his annual State of the District report Jan. 25 to members of the Jacksonville Federal Court Bar Association meeting at the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse.
“The state of the district is full speed ahead,” Corrigan said.
The civil and criminal caseloads continue to grow in the Middle District of Florida, which includes divisions and courthouses in Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers.
The district continues to conduct its business with fewer judges than needed, Corrigan said. The court’s website shows 12 active judges on the bench in the Middle District, which has 15 appointments.
“We should have 20 judges in the Middle District,” Corrigan said.
There are 16 judges on the senior judge roster, with chambers and courtrooms listed for all but two of the “retired” jurists.
Corrigan, who joined the federal district bench in September 2002, said he too will be joining the senior judge roster in November. U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard in the Jacksonville Division will become chief judge.
Corrigan said that Congress must approve appointment of more judges in the district.
“I have written to both of our senators. I remain hopeful that we will get action,” he said.
Another challenge facing the court is a jury duty scam.
Law enforcement impersonators – in some cases purporting to be Corrigan – are calling people and threatening arrest if they do not pay a fine of as much as $5,000, often with a gift card.
“People get scared. They make it sound so real,” Corrigan said.
“I take it personally because they are using my name. We are trying to warn people not to fall for this.”
In closing, Corrigan ended his final report about the district the way he has ended his previous presentations since becoming chief judge.
“Our court is in the customer service business. More than 20,000 attorneys practice in the Middle District, serving a population of 12.5 million residents. That’s bigger than 44 of the 50 states,” Corrigan said.
“We are here to serve. Every day, we try to remember that.”