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California district faces shortage of federal judges

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Posted at 11:41 AM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 14:41:43-04

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — The chief federal judge of the Eastern District of California is warning that impending retirements could lead to a judicial "catastrophe" if vacancies are not filled soon.

The Fresno Bee reports Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill sent a letter Friday to the White House and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, warning that criminal cases may have to be dismissed due to an inability to comply with the Speedy Trial Act.

The Eastern District encompasses about 8.5 million people, stretching from the Oregon border south to the Tehachapi Mountains and from the Coast Ranges on the west to the Nevada border on the east.

Its main courthouses are in Sacramento and Fresno. Magistrate judges also sit in Redding, Yosemite and Bakersfield.

The senators' offices say they are working to find candidates.

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Information from: The Fresno Bee, http://www.fresnobee.com