Court Budgets Ravaged in CT

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is also seeking to eliminate $50 million in a new sales-tax, revenue-sharing plan with cities and towns, while Democrats are battling to keep enough funding to ensure that property taxes on cars are cut in high-tax cities like Hartford and New Britain. (Michael Dwyer / AP)

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is also seeking to eliminate $50 million in a new sales-tax, revenue-sharing plan with cities and towns, while Democrats are battling to keep enough funding to ensure that property taxes on cars are cut in high-tax cities like Hartford and New Britain. (Michael Dwyer / AP)

We reported earlier this week that Arizona’s courts are in a political fight right now, but across the country in Connecticut, the judicial system is bracing for impact.

The Hartford Courant reports, “…more than 600 workers could be laid off in the judicial branch if Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s latest budget proposal is approved, officials said. Of those, 110 workers will receive layoff notices Thursday as the courts prepare for a worst-case scenario of “widespread courthouse closings and consolidations,” officials said.”

We have seen in a variety of other locations that courthouse closings often disproportionately impact access of justice for low income people. The Chief Court Administrator wrote a letter to the Governor this week decrying the cuts, saying “This reduction is both unprecedented and catastrophic in its consequences.”

Whether these cuts will take root – or whether low income people will be impacted – remains to be seen. We’ll be following the story along, and you can do so here at the Hartford Courant.

Florida Court District Says Divorce Hearing Can Take A Year

Courts nationwide are facing serious rationing, but a Tampa-area regional justice system is offering some details of its crisis. The info came as county commissioners are debating new facilities. But the area’s chief judge says that won’t help much because “… we can build additional courtrooms but nothing’s going to happen unless we have more judges to oversee them… we haven’t had a new judge in 10 years. Get the (state) Legislature to give us more judges.”

At issue is Florida’s 6th Judicial Circuit, which serves fast-goring Pasco and Pinellas counties The Tampa Bay Tribune explained that the district is “Florida’s third-largest court system. It has 69 judges to oversee all criminal, civil, appellate, family, traffic and small claims court cases. There are seven county court judges and 13 circuit judges assigned to handle cases at the New Port Richey and Dade City courthouses. In 2013 — the most recent figures available — those 20 Pasco County judges handled 24,069 circuit court cases and 41,733 county court cases. And the caseload keeps growing.”

One judge told county officials that it takes a year just to get a hearing on a divorce case

See more at the Tampa Tribune.