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(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.
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.
Source: Courthouse News
"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.
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.
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?