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Many affected by courts' budget cuts

Many affected by courts' budget cuts

December 6, 2012

Over the past few months, a number of articles have shed light on how budget cuts in courts are harming average Americans. On RH Reality Check, a blog site supported by a law firm that focuses on women’s issues and gender disparity, an October 16, 2012, article by Sheila Bapat mentions that some states have reported greater difficulties in timely restraining order hearings and enforcement of abuser sentences. The article quotes Sue Meuschke, Executive Director of the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence (NNADV), who said, “The heavy case load that is impacting all the courts in the state makes the ability to monitor sentencing, particularly on misdemeanor cases which most [domestic violence] cases are, very difficult.”

A Bloomberg News article on November 29, 2012, illustrated how small businesses are suffering due to state budget cuts. In his article, Peter S. Green reports the cutbacks are weighing disproportionately on businesses, as civil cases are forced to take a back seat to criminal cases. Dick Burdge, a Los Angeles attorney and president of the county bar association, told Green that he’s been stuck for two years resolving a contract dispute between partners. On December 3, 2012, KPBS.org, a San Diego, Calif., station, reported that cuts to San Diego County Courts are affecting families because cutbacks are delaying civil court cases.  From child support to divorce cases, proceedings could be backlogged due to these court cuts and staff reductions. With all the budget cuts, the notion of a speedy trial is perhaps no longer possible – and it’s leaving many people involved in cases both frustrated and concerned.