Federal Courts Seek Emergency Funding

The federal courts are in a state of financial crisis due to sequester. Here is the letter the Federal Judicial Conference sent to the White House yesterday seeking emergency funding.

"The judiciary is confronting an unprecedented financial crisis that could seriously compromise the Constitutional mission of the United States courts," the letter states. "We believe our supplemental request meets the threshold for receiving an emergency designation."

Interesting inclusion on the cost of defending Dzokhar Tsarnaev and other threat cases in New York: [More....]

The remaining $5.0 million is for projected defense representation and related expert costs for high-threat trials, including high-threat cases in New York and Boston that, absent sequestration, the Defender Services program would have been able to absorb without the need for supplemental funding.

Congress allowed DOJ to move $313 million around to avoid furloughs. Courts don't have the same type of accounts with which to move funds around. It's only right the same ability to avoid furloughs and funding cuts by the Government be applied to the courts, federal defenders, CJA counsel and probation.

The Court's letter states:

We are aware that the U.S. Department of Justice is not furloughing staff so we anticipate the pace at which criminal cases requiring appointment of defense counsel will continue unabated, while resources in the Defender Services program are diminishing. Between October 2012 and April2013, FDOs downsized by 113 employees and other employees were furloughed. Further FDO cuts and the anticipated suspension of panel attorney payments will create the real possibility that panel attorneys may decline to accept Criminal Justice Act appointments in cases that otherwise would have been represented by FDOs.

Delays in the cases moving forward may result in violations of constitutional and statutory speedy trial mandates resulting in criminal cases being dismissed.

What the cuts mean:

Consequently, the primary options for absorbing the $52 million sequestration cut are reducing FDO staffing levels and/or deferring payments to private panel attorneys. Reducing FDO staff results in appointments being shifted to panel attorneys thus increasing those costs, and deferring panel attorney payments into fiscal year 2014 only adds to fiscal year 2014 appropriations requirements. Absent supplemental funding, the Judiciary will need to suspend payments to private panel attorneys for the last 15 business days (3 weeks) of the fiscal year, and FDOs will need to further reduce costs through staffing cuts and by furloughing employees for a national average of approximately 15 days for the remainder of the fiscal year.

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    The absurdity never ends (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Dadler on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:17:00 PM EST
    Nor the senseless malevolence of a privileged class of people who insist on elevating imaginary trinkets over human beings.

    Money matters more than people. That's America today. If you ain't a million buck, you don't deserve to live. Sarcasm, of course.

    But barely. What a truly phucked up sad world we live in. And this is modernity? This is progress?

    And it's the FEDERAL courts, remember (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Dadler on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:18:59 PM EST
    And since factually the Federal Government cannot go broke, this is nothing more than a choice to destroy. A clear choice by all parties.

    We might as well commit suicide because we're afraid of confetti. No offense to confetti, that's actually an existent thing.


    At least one federal judge (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by scribe on Thu May 16, 2013 at 11:37:13 AM EST
    Nothing else to do (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 16, 2013 at 01:29:16 PM EST
    If the Republicans won't fund our justice system, that is the only justice that remains.

    SITE VIOLATOR (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 16, 2014 at 08:27:46 AM EST
    Dear Court (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu May 16, 2013 at 12:21:52 PM EST
    I understand how a shortage of funds is a problem..

    My family and I just do less.....

    Try it.

    Yeah, Jim, the U.S. court system's (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by shoephone on Thu May 16, 2013 at 12:45:23 PM EST
    financing and operation are exactly like your family's monthly budget.

    Dear Jim (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Yman on Thu May 16, 2013 at 07:14:53 PM EST
    "Doing less" from our perspective doesn't mean traveling to fewer poker tournaments or sending the grandkids to (gasp!) public school.  It involves the need to set criminal defendants free without a trial.

    Should we "try it" by sending them to your neighborhood?


    Send the federal defendants... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Fri May 17, 2013 at 09:22:51 AM EST
    to my neighborhood, if you wouldn't mind taking our cops and their 6 figure salaries and pensions.  Attitudes are bloated too, just to warn ya, lemon laws and all;)

    Somehow I knew ... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Yman on Fri May 17, 2013 at 12:29:34 PM EST
    ... you'd make that trade, Kdog.

    Call it intuition.  :)


    The positives of sequestration... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Thu May 16, 2013 at 12:53:28 PM EST
    less prosecutions...Mikey likes it!

    I hope the judge(s) ain't bluffin' and get to dismissin' cases, starting with all the drug cases in federal court much preferred.  Maybe the money arguments will succeed where moral arguments have failed. Anybody with two eyes can see we prosecute and imprison like a crackhead smokes crack...time for some cold-turkey.


    legalize drugs? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 16, 2013 at 01:29:51 PM EST
    Well (none / 0) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 16, 2013 at 06:50:40 PM EST
    what are you going to do about the right to a speedy trial?

    Not everything can be dumbed down and compared with your household budget.


    For once, I agree Jim (none / 0) (#13)
    by Yman on Fri May 17, 2013 at 08:03:40 AM EST
    That is simple.

    SITE VIOLATOR (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 07:42:22 AM EST