In response to state court budgets across the nation being slashed, The Economist reports increased delays and backlogs of cases, compromising enforcement and justice.
The article cited data released by the American Bar Association:
“In the last three years, most states have cut court funding by around 10-15%. In the past two years, 26 have stopped filling judicial vacancies, 34 have stopped replacing clerks, 31 have frozen or cut the salaries of judges or staff, 16 have furloughed clerical staff, and nine have furloughed judges. Courts in 14 states have reduced their opening hours, and are closed on some work days.”
The National Center for State Courts added that 3200 court buildings are “physically eroded” and “functionally deficient.” The ABA and the NCSC are both partners of Justice at Stake.
Paradoxically, cutting court funds can cost the government and the states substantial amounts of money. The Washington Economics Group states that backlogs in Florida civil courts cost the state $9.8 billion, compared to just $1.2 billion allocated to Florida courts. The U.S. Senate’s lack of efficiency in filling empty judgeships has only added to the problem. (more…)