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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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