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The Courts Need Our Help

by: Brian Leubitz

Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:30:00 AM PST

Courts are looking at a $200 million cut over the next two years

by Brian Leubitz

Justice is a funny thing. It is hard to define, and everybody has a slightly different concept of what they mean when they use the word. Generally, to me it means the swift administration of our system of laws. That is important for criminal defendants, victims, and to the many civil litigants who rely on a functioning court system.  That is why these numbers are very worrying:

The Judicial Council notes that as of October, six out of 10 counties in California have had to reduce hours, close offices or courtrooms, even as it calculates the state needs 264 more judges to handle the state's growing caseload. (LAT)

Criminal caseloads aren't growing in any marked way, but civil litigation does tend to pick up in a time of economic distress. That being said, with a growing economy, we need a court system that can stand ready to handle the needs of businesses in the eight largest economy in the world.

Governor Brown is looking for ways to help the courts, suggesting new court fees. But with a pending cut of $200million for 2014-2015, times will be tough. Lines for services are already worringly long in most counties, and a further cut makes planning for growth unlikely.

The judiciary holds an interesting position in the state government. After all, it is supposed to be a co-equal branch of government, yet funding levels have put the courts in a tenuous and vulnerable position. Though there are many very important competing interests in the budget game, can we really afford to overlook our courts?

Brian Leubitz :: The Courts Need Our Help
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Civil justice is the priority (4.00 / 1)
Our civil justice system is in horrible shape.  People need to have better, more affordable access to the civil justice system to address the torts that cause real damage.

I think the criminal justice system is bloated, having fed on the empty calories of tough on crime legislation who's only purpose was to provide copy for political consultants.  Tough on crime: "Yeah!!!"  Soft on crime: "Boo!"

The court system is inadequate to accommodate the horrible criminal justice system, but I would rather devote attention to right sizing the criminal system than upsizing the court system.

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