Criminal Justice

Stunned Federal Judges in Ariz. Mourn Slain Chief, Wonder How to Deal with Increased Workload

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Stunned by the news that their chief judge had been gunned down over the weekend in a Tucson, Ariz., shopping mall shooting spree that left six dead and 14 injured, including the congresswoman who was the apparent target, the District of Arizona’s 16 remaining federal judges nonetheless returned to work today.

Chief District Judge John Roll would have wanted them to be there, despite their distress, a number of his colleagues believe. And, coming at a time when its resources were already stretched thin, his death leaves the district with a huge hole that somehow will have to be filled, reports the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

The district’s most senior judge, Roslyn Silver, will replace him as chief judge. But Roll had a large docket and, already facing other vacancies before his death, “we’re going to need help from other districts, either inside the Ninth Circuit or outside,” Judge Frederick Martone told the blog.

One case that won’t be added to their docket, however, is the alleged shooter’s: All the local federal judges have recused themselves, and a judge is expected to be brought in from another jurisdiction to preside, the Washington Post reported.

Jared Lee Loughner, 22, was arraigned today before a magistrate judge in a packed courtroom in Phoenix. He is being held without bond, and a preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 24.

A Bloomberg article provides additional details.

Earlier coverage: “Federal Judge John Roll Killed in Attack that Targeted Congresswoman” “Judge Killed in Ariz. Shooting Spree Had Issued Several Controversial Decisions” “PD Who Defended Ted Kaczynski Will Reportedly Represent Suspect in Ariz. Shooting Spree”

Updated at 7:12 p.m. to include link to Bloomberg coverage of arraignment.

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