Visiting judges ease federal caseloads in W. Tenn.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Judges from Michigan are helping to ease the backlog of federal cases in Memphis.

Under the Visiting Judges Program, cases from Memphis are being assigned to three judges who will handle some work by phone but will also be holding court in Tennessee. The program is possible because both Michigan and Tennessee belong to the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

The move comes at a time when Memphis has a vacant seat on the bench and a caseload that is growing quickly.

As of last week, 30 criminal and civil cases filed in West Tennessee had been assigned to the visiting judges.

Thomas Gould, who is clerk of the U.S. District Court for Western Tennessee, says the goal is to move cases along faster without sacrificing quality.

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