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Bankruptcy judge warns of impact of ‘fiscal cliff’

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Chief Judge James K. Coachys in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana sent a memo to the Indiana State Bar Association Wednesday explaining how budget cuts and the potential “fiscal cliff” have affected the court.

Nearly 90 percent of the court’s budget this year has been allocated to pay clerk’s office personnel. The number of staff has been reduced over the years: for the fiscal years 2011 and 2012, the court cut four and five positions, respectively. Coachys anticipates cutting six positions by early January because of a projected shortfall of nearly $500,000. Since the end of fiscal year 2011, the staff has gone from 73 to 58 when including the upcoming cuts.

The court is also eliminating or severely curtailing funding for cyclical building maintenance, personnel training, travel and supplies, the memo says.

He expects the budget to be reduced further for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, leading to more personnel terminations.

Historically, the Southern District of Indiana has ranked in the top 15 of the 94 judicial districts in terms of the bankruptcy cases filed.

“Although the information here is specific to our district, the budget cuts described and the resulting changes are similar to those being experienced by bankruptcy courts cross the country,” Coachys writes. “In fact, I have patterned this memo on a similar one by Chief Bankruptcy Judge Pat Morgenstern-Clarren in the Northern District of Ohio – a court experiencing very similar challenges.”

The “fiscal cliff” – automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 2 unless Congress acts – will result in sequestration of funds otherwise budgeted for all federal agencies, according to the memo.

“I hope that the information is useful in understanding how this Court continues to restructure to operate with the amounts allocated to us, and how that process is expected to continue in future budget cycles,” Coachys writes to the state bar. “However, be assured that we are doing our utmost in these extremely challenging times of declining resources to continue providing prompt and efficient service to you and your clients.”

 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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