Budget cuts affecting courts

December 1, 2011
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The organization released data this week showing that the economic downturn has led to considerably reduced court budgets in 42 states. Courts in 34 states have laid off court staff, 39 courts have suspended filing clerk vacancies, and 23 state court systems have reduced operating hours.

Indiana’s courts are primarily funded locally, with the state paying salaries of judges and prosecutors as well as partial reimbursements for public defenders and travel expenses. The money allocated by the state to our judiciary has decreased by nearly $1 million from fiscal year 2011 going into FY 2012. According to the NCSC, our courts have been able to keep the same number of judges but have cut the number of staff and amount spent on operating expenses. There have also been layoffs in technology staff.

The result of the data according to the NCSC is that the public’s access to courts is threatened by the budget cuts. Reduced staff, operating hours and funding have led to backlogs in handling civil cases in a timely manner.

Indiana overall is doing pretty good as compared to the rest of the country. It’s just one of 10 states that didn’t report budget shortfalls for their judicial branch for FY 2009 and/or 2010, according to NCSC. A look around the Midwest shows that most states are dealing with slightly reduced or stagnant budgets, and all are looking at ways of reducing costs – whether it’s through freezing salaries, staff layoffs or finding more ways to reduce spending and costs.
 

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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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