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Short court slows down

Down three judges,the Western District hears fewer cases, makes fewer rulings

Missouri’s Court of Appeals Western District is supposed to have 11 people donning black robes and meting out justice. These days, it’s limping along with eight. The three-judge shortfall appears to have an impact. Data show the court has heard almost a third fewer cases and issued 22 percent fewer rulings compared to a year ago. But so far, lawyers don’t seem to be complaining. At the same time, the state court system has implemented a general hiring freeze on courthouse employees and postponed computer equipment upgrades to keep the books in balance through June.

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