The Alabama court system has never been properly funded and things got much worse over the past several years. The prospects of a 25% reduction across the board in the general fund budget for the upcoming fiscal year and make matters critically worse. It appears that there will be more budget cuts for the courts. Circuit clerks were hit very hard by cuts in their budgets in recent years. It has been reported that hundreds of workers in the clerks’ offices across the state could face layoffs. Even with flat funding by the Legislature, courts would still have to cut workers I am told. The state’s judicial system could face another 25% funding cut for the coming year.
Many circuit clerks’ offices are already operating 30% to 40% below the work force levels recommended for Alabama courthouses by the National Center for State Courts. The cuts are causing backlogs of paper filing by the clerks’ offices. In some counties residents getting divorced must wait between 18 and 24 months before their cases are final. Both criminal and civil trials are being delayed. I believe that Gov. Robert Bentley recognizes that the court system must be properly funded and will do everything he can to help out. Cutting the judicial system’s budget hurts all Alabama citizens, and that hurt will have a lasting effect. It’s time to correct the errors of the past and properly fund the courts.
Source: Associated Press
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