The Times should be commended for alerting readers to the inability of our congested civil courts to administer justice (editorial). While recognizing the problem, you appear to endorse the quick-fix solution of adding more judges for civil courts. A deeper analysis was suggested that same day at confirmation hearings for Judge David Souter. He stated in part that civil courts are slow because our Constitution requires criminal cases to be heard first. Even a tiny cocaine case takes precedence over a billion-dollar business suit affecting millions.
The easiest way to free up judges for handling civil disputes is to relieve them of the burden of processing penny-ante drug cases. As a start, we should take all simple possession for personal use cases out of the criminal justice system and transfer them to an administrative health board. The savings would be enormous. By unclogging our criminal system, we would begin to free up our civil court system to hear the vital business, insurance and environment cases which now are not heard properly. In short, we do not need more judges. We need fewer drug laws.
ROBERT SHEAHEN Los Angeles
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