Eau Claire (WQOW)- On Tuesday the Eau Claire County Board heard about the state of the circuit courts, and staff are saying they need more hands on deck.
Judge William Gabler presented the annual report at Tuesday's board meeting, and included in that was a request for a sixth judge. Gabler said the current shortage makes it very difficult for citizens to schedule court time. The last time a judicial position was added to the county's repertoire was in 1994, and since then a lot has changed in Eau Claire County.
"There was a lot of things we didn't have. We didn't have any treatment courts, there wasn't a drug court, AIM court or mental health court. We didn't have meth traffic, we didn't have methamphetamine addiction. We didn't have a significant opioid addiction problem that we have now. We didn't have the spike in domestic violence, we didn't have computer sex crimes back in 1994. Now we are a wash in computer sex crimes and they consume time, resources and energy," said Gabler.
Money for an additional judicial position is paid for by the state, so the county said the soonest one would likely be able to be added is August of 2019. An additional judge would still need county board approval to be up for consideration. On Tuesday a few members did express interest in getting the ball rolling as soon as possible.
Gabler did note that in order to add another circuit court judge, significant revisions would have to be made on the second floor of the courthouse to accommodate the space.