Two Judicial Vacancies Exacerbate Caseload Pressures in
Eastern District’s Fresno Division

As of February 3, 2020, the Eastern District of California has two judicial vacancies. The vacancies are created by District Judge Morrison C. England’s having taken senior status in December 2019 and District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill’s assuming inactive senior status on February 2, 2020. As a result, District Judge Dale A. Drozd is the only judge hearing criminal cases in the court’s Fresno Division. Until new judges are appointed, Judge Drozd is covering all his own cases in addition to all the criminal cases and a portion of the civil cases previously assigned to Judge O’Neill. Judge Drozd has issued standing orders in all cases over which he is presiding, criminal and civil, to clarify procedures he has put in place in an effort to address the current circumstances, which exacerbate the district’s pre-existing and longstanding judicial emergency. That emergency will only be resolved fully if Congress creates five new judgeships, as recommended by the Judicial Conference of the United States. Copies of Judge Drozd’s orders are provided here for reference.  Civil Order   Criminal Order