DENVER (CN) - No criminal trials or cases requiring a federal public defender will be heard on Fridays in Denver for five months because of budget cuts, the district's chief federal judge said.
Chief U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger issued a one-page order limiting most criminal proceedings to four-day weeks from April 26 to Sept. 30.
Furloughs of federal officers due to the budget sequester necessitate the curtailed schedule, Krieger wrote.
"Upon representation by the offices of the United States Attorney, the Federal Public Defender, and the United States Marshal for the District of Colorado, the Court finds that each office will suffer significant budget reductions resulting in mandated furlough days in varying number during the remainder of FY 2013," Krieger wrote in the order. "Because the participation of the professionals in these offices is integral to proper adjudication of criminal matters before the Court, coordination in scheduling of criminal trials and hearings is necessary to ensure access to the Court by all parties and the public, appropriate representation to criminal defendants and necessary courthouse security.
"IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
"Beginning Friday, April 26, 2013 and continuing through September 30, 2013, no hearings or trials in criminal cases (other than mandatory first appearances before a magistrate judge) will be heard on Fridays. In addition, no trials or hearings in criminal cases in which a Federal Public Defender must appear shall be conducted on Friday, March 29 and Friday, April 12, 2013. Parties with existing criminal matters affected by this order shall coordinate with the opposing party, and with the respective judicial chambers, to reschedule hearings/trials."
In other news on Colorado courts, Raymond Moore, the federal public defender for Colorado and Wyoming, will replace outgoing U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel, who has taken senior status.
The Senate confirmed Moore's nomination Monday. Daniel was the first African-American federal judge in Colorado.
Moore, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Denver and a former partner with Davis, Graham and Stubbs, was nominated by President Obama last November after serving in his current role for nearly a decade.
Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, said that Moore's confirmation was desperately needed in the face of a mounting backlog in the district.
"With his confirmation to the U.S. District Court of Colorado, I am pleased Raymond Moore will be able to get to work to reduce the overwhelming caseload affecting Coloradans and ensure the quick resolution of legal disputes," Udall said in a statement.
"Mr. Moore will make an excellent addition to the court, and I believe he will serve Colorado well and ensure that Colorado businesses can focus on creating jobs rather than navigating an overburdened judicial system."
A date for Moore's investiture has not been announced.
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