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Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady says the state's judiciary still faces a massive backlog

 Chief Justice Charles Canady addressing members of the Economic Club of Florida
Tom Flanigan
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Chief Justice Charles Canady addressing members of the Economic Club of Florida

The COVID pandemic stressed - but didn’t break - Florida’s court system. That was the word from State Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady to the Economic Club of Florida on May 17. Canady said the inability to conduct traditional in-person trials meant a huge backup of cases in the system.

"600,000, which is a lot! And that was the end of last June we had that size backlog. Now since then, we have been successful in an overall reduction of the backlog of 30 percent.”

Now, with the pandemic receding, Canady said the state’s circuit and county courts have shifted into high gear to clear the remaining caseloads.

“We’ve gotten the low-hanging fruit. It will get more difficult. A lot of those cases were cases that were settled. And we’re going to get to the point where the cases that are left are cases that will have to go to trial. Even when we’re back fully operational we’ve got limited capacity to try cases. There are only so many courtrooms and judges to try the cases.”

The address by the state's sitting chief justice was also notable in that, in the audience, was a former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Major Harding (1998-2000,) and the incoming Chief Justice Carlos Muniz. He will succeed Canady on July 1.

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