AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The number of federal judicial vacancies in Texas is among the highest in the nation and the problem is compounded by recent budget cuts and a growing volume of felony cases that are being delayed.

There are eight vacancies on district benches in Texas and two more are expected within the year. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel tells the Austin American-Statesman ( ) the problem is particularly acute in the western judicial district, which has the second-highest number of criminal felony filings per judge in the country.

Meanwhile, federal cuts over the years have resulted in staff reductions and the elimination of court programs.

Court officials say more cases are placed on hold, defendants spend more time in jail and there are longer waits to appear in court.

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