Report: Orleans Parish has more judges than needed

New Orleans has almost twice as many judges as it needs and it's costing taxpayers $14 million a year, according to a new report by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Janet Howard with BGR says the report looked at each judge's workload and the number of cases filed in each of the parish's seven courts.

"It costs an average of $575,000 for an unnecessary judgeship. This is very important for Orleans Parish given the unmet needs of the city. You want your money to be going to services that are truly needed," said Howard.

Based on a formula, it suggests reducing the number of civil court judges from 14 to 7 and eliminate six of 13 criminal court judges.

The report also suggests going from six to one judge in juvenile court, keeping just one of the four traffic court judges, and getting rid of three city court judges. That's 25 judges in all.

Only the legislature can reduce the number of judges, which it has refused to do in the past.

The Supreme Court's judicial council is also studying the issue and will release its recommendations in February.

In response to the release of the BGR report, Chief Justice Bernette Johnson issued a statement saying, ""While the Court is aware of studies by the Bureau of Governmental Research and other groups who have concerns about the appropriate number of state judges, our work is guided by HCR 143 wherein the Legislature, in keeping with its constitutional responsibility to create and fund judgeships, requested the Supreme Court to 'conduct a comprehensive study of the caseload data and the number of judges of each appellate court, district court, parish court, and city court in Louisiana to determine changes necessary to the existing structure of the judiciary to provide the most efficient use of judicial resources..."