Alabama’s Chief Justice has ordered a reduction in the number of weeks for trials in courthouses statewide and has authorized the presiding circuit judge at every courthouse to close court offices one day per week if necessary because of cuts in the budget for the judicial branch of government. Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb signed an order reducing the number of weeks for civil trials by half and the weeks for criminal trials by one-third. That was necessary, according to the Chief Justice, because the system won’t have enough employees to conduct full court schedules. The court system laid off 120 workers last year and another 150 employees will be cut on May 1st. Chief Justice Cobb anticipates another 300 layoffs in October unless the Legislature provides the needed money to keep the courts open. These changes will hurt the citizens of Alabama. Hopefully, the legislators will find a way to adequately fund the judicial system. Under the Constitution, the judicial branch is a separate branch of government and as a result must be adequately funded.
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