State Court Funding Crisis in Focus as ABA Task Force on the Preservation of the Justice System Convenes in Atlanta
WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 3, 2011— The American Bar Association Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System will hold the first of several nationally scheduled public hearings at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Atlanta on Feb. 9 at the Marriott Atlanta Marquis. Witnesses will address the nationwide court funding crisis and the courts’ struggle to meet its constitutional mandate of providing access to justice.
Georgia is among many states struggling with a court funding crisis:
- The state’s judiciary received a 6 percent budget cut in fiscal year 2011, on the heels of cuts slashing more than 14 percent of the budget two years earlier.
- From 2008-2010, the caseload has ballooned 10 percent, totaling more than one million filings a year.
- Gwinnett County’s prosecutor was asked to cut costs by not trying criminal cases for five weeks — nearly 10 percent of the calendar year.
- Court slowdowns are leading to months of waiting for event urgent and relatively simple matters such as child support and custody hearings.
- Statistics at the end of 2010 showed a sharp spike in magistrate court cases after state court fees were raised dramatically.
- The 2009 state judiciary budget was a mere .8 percent of the state budget.
This task force, co-chaired by David Boies and Ted Olson, is the first of its kind to take on the problems associated with the state court funding crisis.
- ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, including Co-chairs David Boies and Ted Olson
- ABA President Stephen N. Zack
- State Supreme Court Chief Justices Carol W. Hunstein (Ga.), Wallace B. Jefferson (Texas), Paul J. De Muniz (Ore.) and John T. Broderick (N.H., ret.)
- Tracey Adkinson, president of the Georgia League of Women Voters
- Court staff, business and bar leaders
- Leaders from the NAACP, National Governors Association and Justice at Stake
What: Hearing on court funding crisis, access to justice problems and depletion of court resources
When: Feb. 9, Noon – 5 p.m.
Where: Marriott Atlanta Marquis, Atrium Level, A704
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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