SACRAMENTO (May 13, 2014) - California’s court system, which has already closed hundreds of courtrooms as the result of more than $1 billion in General Fund budget cuts over the past six years, will face further cuts and closures if Governor Jerry Brown’s revised state budget is approved, Consumer Attorneys of California president John M. Feder warned today.
“We are grateful the administration increased the judicial branch’s funding from the original budget proposal earlier this year,” Feder said. “But the new budget figure still won’t even be enough to pay for the court system’s current reduced level of services. Court reserves that were used to prop up the budget last year have now been spent.”
Last week, an Assembly Budget Subcommittee recognized the need for a bigger funding influx for the courts, allocating roughly $100 million more than the governor called for Tuesday. That additional funding would be enough to keep the courts “treading water” at roughly the same funding level as last year, reducing the threat of further court closures, long lines and a slowdown in the administration of justice. Differences between the governor’s budget proposal and the Legislature’s will be the subject of negotiations in the coming weeks.
Feder pointed to a story this past weekend in the Los Angeles Times with a headline that portrayed the reality of the situation: “Cutbacks in California court system produce long lines, short tempers.”
“We have courts holding garage sales to raise money,” Feder said. “Real people and real businesses are suffering because of the delays and inconvenience caused by an underfunded court system. And with the amount of funding proposed in the May Revise, it’s only going to get worse, with more closures and longer lines. Those most affected by the cuts are those involved in civil cases, such as domestic violence protection, family law and foster care issues. We urge the administration to make it possible for Californians to have the basic access to justice they deserve.”
Consumer Attorneys of California is a professional organization of plaintiffs’ attorneys representing consumers seeking accountability against wrongdoers in cases involving personal injury, product liability, environmental degradation and other causes.
For more information:
J.G. Preston, CAOC Press Secretary, 916-669-7126, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Bailey, CAOC Communications Director, 916-669-7122, email@example.com