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87 Chief Judges Plead for Sequestration Relief

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posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 08:10 PM
It seems Sequestration is coming home to really hurt badly. So say the nation's judges. I think they have a point.

(CN) - The chief judges of 87 federal courts warned congressional leaders this week that another year of sequestration on top of flat funding "will have a devastating, and long lasting, impact on the administration of justice in this country."

In a letter to Vice President Joe Biden, as president of the Senate, the judges cautioned that deep cuts are unsustainable and pose a threat to public safety, and asked senators to carve out an exception for the judiciary should they extend sequestration another year.

The courts are stretched thin as it is, as anyone with recent contact can attest to. I hadn't realized or thought about them to be hit by this, but then, it's a large Government in terms of remembering every area that is being put through pain over this budget nonsense.

Offices for clerks, probation and pretrial services cut 1,000 staff for the fiscal year 2013, the judges say. Over two years, the judiciary was forced to shed close to 2,100 staff, a 10 percent reduction.

"Our current staffing level is the lowest it has been since 1999 despite significant workload growth during this same period of time," the judges say.

Courts this year have had to cope with 4,500 furlough days, with an additional 4,100 furlough days on the horizon.

Indeed, this doesn't sound terribly good. The people playing catch get lower and lower in ability while the rest of the game just keeps increasing in tempo.

"But the most significant impact," the judges say, is the $50 million shortfall for the defender services account.

Because federal defender offices have had to lay off or furlough staff, the courts increased deferred payments to court-appointed attorneys. That places a strain on the judiciary's constitutional duty to provide counsel for criminal defendants who can't afford attorneys and is ultimately self-defeating, the judges say.
Source: Courthouse News

The way I see it, there are two ways out of Sequestration, which is literally the issue of running out of money to print by statute, expenses NEEDING met, so the answer being to cut fairly brutally by regulated outcome until the balance between shortfall and cuts come out right.

They can raise the debt limit as they've always done but now refuse to do (not the best approach but probably the ONLY one in short term solutions) or they can intelligently plan cuts they have to MEAN to do with their name on them (which TERRIFIES every last one in both parties) until the spending comes within revenue numbers.

Even printing funny money out of thin air has a legal and physical limit to it...lest the world markets outright cut the United States OUT of the global economy for having just become completely rogue. That limit is the Debt Ceiling and this is the first time Congress has actually stood firm to say no to it being raised. It's a totally untenable position for both Congress and the President for the LONG term without those intelligent and deliberate cuts to go with the lack of revenue/debt increase, IMO.


In addition to the issue of budgetary matters on the federal level?

InFocus: Judicial Branch Budget Crisis

California isn't the only state facing this same crisis within State courts. Our system is bursting at the seams with no money left to patch the new holes. We're in for a rough ride by the looks of things.

posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 08:14 PM
S&F I was wondering who was going to "blink first".

posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 08:33 PM
Hmm. Normally I have little sympathy for bureaucrats who overspend hand over fist but this doesn't look good. If they don't get a budget they can live within who would be the first on the cutback lists? My guess is the public defenders. Since we have the largest prison population already this would be doubly bad.

Could they get a to boost to their budget money back to normal levels while the House is trying to defund Obamacare? Seems like a worthwhile approach to me.

posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 08:49 PM
reply to post by Bassago

The article is very strong on the 'Fix it, stupid' approach but the Judiciary is also requesting Congress exempt them if they can't get their act together under any circumstances to make a budget. They point out (which I didn't know) the Department of Justice IS NOT taking sequestration damage like almost everyone else the cases keep pumping and dumping into a bucket that is smaller and smaller.

Like they note and I hadn't thought of either... Bankruptcy is a Federal Court. Won't that just be something if the day comes where a man can't file bankruptcy because the court is broke?

posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 08:54 PM
Here is an idea now granted it would require lawmakers to do some work but hear me out.

The US has the highest ratio of population in prison now it I may be wrong but that makes me think we have a prosecution problem, as in our country prosecutes the wrong things and they are to fast to do it. Not to debate the issue here but the war on drugs is never going to be won and it hasn't helped us as a hole by locking people up for possession that's just one but I am sure most people know what I am talking about.

Cops overcharging defendants for every stupid thing hell if you talk back they charge for resisting. I was once mistakenly tazzed coming out of a bar and either I was to drunk to feel it completely or I am just naturally nerve dead but I took off running until the cops tackled me. I wasn't the one they were after but they charged me with resisting because I ran. You would run to if you had some asshole shocking you well the judge felt the same as me about it and all charges were dropped oh they also charged me with public intoxication well no sh!t it was a bar and I lived half a block away it wasn't like I was going to drive. Besides WTF they are the ones who screwed up and attacked the wrong guy. Meanwhile the one they were after slipped out the back.

Anyway sorry to rant but the whole damn system is jacked up maybe if they started serving the people again instead of whatever the hell they are doing now their caseload would return to something manageable.

posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 09:05 PM
reply to post by Grimpachi

The budget cuts among the courts could well be the issue here as well in terms of how our prisons stack and pack like human warehouses and turn out human waste in terms of what society is willing to do in working them them again in most cases.

The growing failure of the courts makes the plea deal almost a forced issue where someone isn't adamant about not taking one. I don't blame the judges a bit, either. They were lawyers and quite often, not prosecutor types.

I hate to say it, but this only gets worse on the Federal level, too. Want to hear another aspect?

A vacancy crisis threatens our federal judiciary. With 108 open trial and appellate court positions across the country — nearly twice the number that existed when President Obama took office — our federal courts are suffering from a near-record 12% vacancy rate.

The consequences are grave. Widespread vacancies delay proceedings and expand court dockets; inadequate judicial resources imperil criminal prosecutions and cause civil proceedings to lag; and overburdened judges are hard-pressed to give each case the attention it deserves. In short, the promise of justice remains undelivered to the constituents our federal courts are intended to serve.

Imagine the cuts it would take to the staff to offset the costs of open court rooms if Congress got off their dead butts and worked for a living to fill some federal bench vacancies. I don't much care for a large % of the Federal Bench to be filled with some of the most liberal Judges to bang a gavel, as I'm thinking will happen. However, given the option? I like a crumbling Justice system a whole lot LESS, so whatever it takes to fund it to working levels and get the required # of courts back open to handle the work, eh?

* and perhaps I should have chosen the Posse forum, since the sheer mind numbing volume of crap in the system from drug cases cannot be ignored while the Court system itself is crying for mercy.

posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 09:17 PM

Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
reply to post by Bassago

Like they note and I hadn't thought of either... Bankruptcy is a Federal Court. Won't that just be something if the day comes where a man can't file bankruptcy because the court is broke?

That won't be a problem. The guy can't file because the court is broke. The bank buys itself a civil judgement and then call in the SWAT team on him and his family like that other poor guy in a previous thread this week. Over $1000 no less!

Then after they arrest him he sits in jail because the court is still broke and there's no public defender.
Welcome to the USA!

posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 10:11 PM
The only thing sequestration has hurt is the agenda of the current administration that is stalling its cloward and piven strategy.

Really was all just doom porn to spend more money we don't have check out how the national debt has been at the same amount for over 3 months,.

posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 10:21 PM
reply to post by neo96

That's exactly the point. That national debt number hasn't moved. Spending hasn't stopped. Oh..far from it. It's still an orgy of spending in some corners. Every dollar spent one direction right now is a dollar directly taken by sequestration law from somewhere else. Obama signed Sequestration and his own White House aide admitted it was, ultimately, his idea.

What I'd say it's done is, among other things, allow for near draconian cuts across the military that could never have been approved by dems or republicans without a political price none are willing to pay. How much else was among the intended targets? I don't know....but it's sure whacking the crap out of what the Politicians don't like while they quietly exempt out what they do like.

The worst part is....compounding interest on the stalled national debt figure has only slowed by the compounding stopping. It's still growing and consuming more within the existing amount. I.E....more cuts from what Politicians deem expendable, but we rarely seem to agree actually is, like those pesky courts that get in their way more than not.

posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 11:27 PM
Here's a common sense solution to maintain operational efficiency in a legal system suffering (lol) through the woes of a diminishing labor force:

Repeal some laws. Decrease the workload. It's quite simple, actually. And no credit check required.

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