U.S. Budget Cuts to Bring Suspension of Some Trials?

If budget cuts approved by Congress for January take effect, some federal civil trials may be suspended and court personnel reduced.

“The Judiciary is on the cusp of a financial crisis of significant proportions, one that I believe we can assuage somewhat if we are willing to take bold and unprecedented action,” Judge Julia Gibbons, chair of the budget committee, told the Judicial Conference of the United States, an ABA Journal article reported.

A press release by the Judicial Conference included her statement and the following statement of detailed concern:

“The Judiciary is concerned about the impact of congressional budget cuts on its ability to maintain clerk’s office and probation officer staffing levels at a time when the workload is not declining. It is especially concerned about the impact of the Budget Control Act, which requires automatic across-the-board spending cuts to take place in January 2013. If Congress does not agree to a deficit reduction plan or amend this ‘sequestration’ requirement, the courts could lose more than one-fourth of their workforce, civil trials could be suspended for months, funds to pay panel attorneys who represent indigent defendants would expire well before the end of the fiscal year, and court security could be severely compromised.”

A Reuters article was entitled, “Judges warn budget cuts could halt some trials.”


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