Thursday, May. 27, 2010
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
"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
Click here to view the report.
Click here to view members of the MBA's Crisis
in Court Funding Task Force.