01/26/2011 04:46 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Arizona Judicial Emergency: Courts Overwhelmed

Federal court officials declared a judicial emergency Tuesday in Arizona, allowing courts to delay criminal trials up to six months because of a shortage of judges worsened by the shooting death two weeks ago in Tucson of the state's chief jurist.

Arizona federal courts were already overwhelmed by a 65% increase in criminal cases in the last two years and two judicial vacancies when U.S. District Judge John M. Roll was killed in the Jan. 8 attack that also severely wounded Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Five others died in the shooting, and a dozen others were injured.

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