Giddings to retire from Ingham circuit bench: Will his seat be eliminated?

Judge James Giddings is retiring this year from the Ingham County Circuit Court, sparking a clash between county commissioners and the court’s chief judge about whether to fill the vacancy, reports The Lansing State Journal.

“It’s a terrible idea, because you’re going to have eight judges doing the work of nine. The number of cases doesn’t go down because you don’t have enough judges,” says Ingham Circuit Chief Judge William Collette.

Ingham County commissioners are looking at a projected $5 million budget deficient for 2011.

Debbie DeLeon, who chairs the board of commissioners, said the board has to look at all options when considering how to close the $5 million deficit. DeLeon said she found the savings of at least $350,000 “very appealing.”

Eliminating the judgeship would require state legislative approval.