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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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