Del. Habeeb meets with Roanoke judges to plan strategy to save s - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Del. Habeeb meets with Roanoke judges to plan strategy to save seats

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Roanoke Valley 8th District Delegate Greg Habeeb met with several judges this afternoon at the Roanoke city courthouse.

The Roanoke Valley is losing three judges, two in the circuit court, and one in juvenile and domestic relations court, due to budget cuts.

Three judges will retire this year and their seats will not be filled.

Habeeb said he's asking the governor's office to consider using money from a $9,000,000 unallocated fund to save some, if not all, of the Roanoke Valley judges.

The fear is a bottleneck.

Habeeb, and others, are afraid too many cases and too few judges will result in long waits to try civil cases, such as divorce, child custody, or child support.

"If we bog down, it costs us all money," Habeeb said.

Criminal cases will get pushed even more so to the forefront, due to criminal defendants right to a speedy trial, Habeeb said.

Legal sources we spoke to for this story couldn't remember the Roanoke area circuit (Roanoke, Roanoke County, and Salem) not having at least six judges since the 1980s.

The next retirement will leave the local circuit court system with five judges, one more than the Lynchburg-Campbell County circuit for example.

Habeeb hopes the issue will be considered when lawmakers head back to Richmond during the first week of April.