Budget cuts, slower courts?

August 13, 2008
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It’s budget season in Indiana, and counties across the state are preparing their 2009 budgets. The tough economic times are leading counties to ask departments to find even more ways to cut spending.

The courts, too, are being asked to find ways to reduce spending. Lake County courts may be asked to cut 10 to 20 percent from its budget – an across-the-board recommendation from the Lake County Council for all government departments. After initial cuts, Carroll County judges questioned its county council’s request that they reduce their budgets even further and go back to budgets from 2003. They reached an agreement with the council in June regarding their budget.

Cutting courts’ budgets is an issue counties are facing statewide. While it’s reasonable to expect every department to find ways to trim spending, how far is too far? When the ability to properly function is compromised as a result of reduced staff, it may be time to re-evaluate the budget. When courts are forced to cut support services or add or increase fees, it affects how the court operates. If courts are unable to keep up with the increasing caseloads, it will lead to an even greater backlog of cases waiting to be heard. Defendants will sit in jail longer, leading to possible overcrowding and potential lawsuits (which will take even longer to hear because of the backlog.)

Should courts be subject to the same percentage of budget cuts being asked of other departments or should county councils make exceptions for the courts? How can courts that have no other choice but to drastically reduce spending cope?
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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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