Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, May. 27, 2010
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MBA Crisis in Court Funding Task Force releases report

The Massachusetts Bar Association's Crisis in Court Funding Task Force has issued a report detailing the human, everyday impacts of the recent budget cuts to our state court system. The report calls on the Legislature and governor to restore court funding.

Gov. Deval Patrick's FY 2010 budget slashed the Massachusetts Trial Courts budget by nearly 10 percent from the year before. Those cuts resulted in a workforce reduction of 7.5 percent by October 2009 compared to July 2008 staffing levels. Those cuts come at a time when the struggling economy has led more citizens to seek assistance from the courts.

"While it is important to see the statistical analysis of the impact of the funding crisis facing the courts, this crisis impacts the real lives of many of our citizens each and everyday," MBA President Valerie A. Yarashus said. "This report tells just a few of their stories."

The cuts' impact on justice is substantial, including consolidation of courts, reduced hours that inconvenience the public, extensive delays in getting hearings scheduled, reductions in interpreters and an increased security risk due to fewer court officers.

"This report underscores the impact to the public when the third branch of government is underfunded. I am hopeful that the contents of this report will be shared with the members of the Legislature so that they can see how their constituents are being affected," said task force Chair Martin F. Kane II of McGrath and Kane in Boston, also an adjunct law professor at Boston College. "It is incumbent upon the Legislature to allocate funds to maintain our courts. Access to justice is a right guaranteed to every citizen."

Click here to view the report.

Click here to view members of the MBA's Crisis in Court Funding Task Force.

 

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