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Massachusetts Top Judge: Court Layoffs “Shortcut to Anarchy”
The Boston Globe reports that the economic meltdown could have a devastating impact on the American justice system, as courts are forced to lay off employees and cut down on court hours, according to Massachusetts’ top judge.
“I shall be blunt: Our state courts are in crisis,” Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall told members of the American Bar Association at its midyear meeting…
New Hampshire’s judicial branch will halt civil and criminal jury trials for a month to save on per diem payments to jurors. It will also postpone filling seven of the state’s 59 vacant judgeships this year. Budget cuts in Florida have left 280 court employees without jobs and more layoffs are expected. In Maine, the courts have loosened security, no longer staffing magnetic security machine checkpoints at local courthouses…
Courts may have to close civil or criminal sessions or consider consolidating. Those changes could reverberate through the system, she said, slowing the courts down again.
And she noted that about half the state’s courthouses are staffed at “below minimal levels” as determined by an objective national staffing model…
She quoted legal scholar Reginald Heber Smith, calling the denial of justice “the shortcut to anarchy.”
Via Boston Globe.