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Federal Judiciary Working to Hire Staff and Public Defenders

House lawmakers on Capitol Hill were told today that the federal courts are planning to backfill staff and public defender jobs lost during the budget cuts last year, according to The National Law Journal.

The courts will be able to reverse many of the emergency measures put in place last year due to the $350 million in cuts from sequestration. The courts will be able to do this following the passing of the fiscal year 2014 spending bill by Congress. The chairwoman of the budget committee of the United States Judicial Conference, Julia Gibbons, made the announcement.

There have been more than 3,200 staff jobs cut over the past couple of years in probation and pretrial services offices and clerks’ offices. Gibbons was speaking in front of members at the Financial Services and General Government appropriates subcommittee.

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Gibbons said that the judiciary wants to fill 400 staff jobs lost in defender organizations. Gibbons sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

“We anticipate this will take at least two years to accomplish but we are committed to restoring the program to its former strength, and with your help we can do that,” Gibbons testified.

For the fiscal year 2015, the judiciary asked for $6.7 billion in discretionary funding. The 2015 fiscal year starts on October 1. This would amount to a 3.4 percent increase and permit the courts to continue operations at their 2014 levels. It would also help the courts recover from the budget cuts, according to Gibbons.

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