Local Circuit Court Judges Request An Additional Judge To Help With Case Load

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) --  Circuit Court judges in Benton, Washington, and Crawford counties are hopeful the legislature will approve their request for an additional judge.

Without one Judge Schrantz said. "Well it slows down the entire judicial process and I know there are a lot of complaints out there already."

Over the years Benton County has seen a significant increase in their population.

Causing Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith's case filings to grow by almost 30 percent. "In 2014 our office filed somewhere in the neighborhood of about 1,900 to 2,000 felony cases. That's about 2,000 separate felony cases. This year we're on track to file about 2,600 felony cases." said Smith.

Judge Schrantz in Benton County and Judge Mike Medlock in Crawford County

Recently asked the state and the Judicial Resources &  Allocation Committee for an additional circuit court judge.

Now it's up to the legislature. But in the meantime, Schrantz says the people will have to bear with them. "It's not gonna be heard as quickly as they might like simply because there are not available dates on the court's calendar."

However, for cases involving juveniles and criminals with strict deadlines, this could pose a serious issue.

"If they don't happen it creates a lot of problems in the system. First of all a problem with complying with the law."

At the end of the day, Smith believes the community that will suffer the most without another judge. "The judicial system plays an important role in the quality of life in our community and staying on top of that is an important aspect."