New leaders may ease North Carolina court budget woes

WNCN in Raleigh, N.C., reported on Jan. 18 that hearings in North Carolina are often delayed because court reporters aren’t available. The article quotes a trial court administrator saying budgetary cuts that reduced what reporters earned for producing transcripts are just part of a “slow dismantling” of the state’s court system,  a trend that might be reversed under the direction of a new top judge and empathetic legislative leaders.

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Shortage of court reporters affects North Carolina courts

Trials in North Carolina are being canceled or postponed because of a shortage of court reporters caused by budget cuts, according to a Sept. 5 news item on WFAE, an NPR station in Charlotte, N.C. This summer, the state court’s budget was cut by more than $3.5 million. To cover the courts, the litigants may have to call in a private reporter to cover the proceedings.

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Local courts feeling the effects of ongoing state budget cuts

An article posted on the KION 46 news site, out of California’s Central Coast, discussed how California budget cuts have negatively affected state courts. Changes have included staff cuts, limited hours, and closed courts. The Hon. Marla Anderson said that, because of the changes, “not everyone is getting access to the justice they deserve.” The Trial Budget Advisory Committee will discuss the situation at a publicly-accessible teleconference on April 24.

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Chief Justice says budget cuts harm court system

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in his annual report on the state of the federal judiciary that the budget cuts imposed by Congress “pose a genuine threat to public safety,” according to a Dec. 31 New York Times article. The current report continues a similar theme from previous years.

Roberts noted that reductions have created delays in civil and bankruptcy cases, as well as decreasing funding for probation and pretrial services in addition to security needs at individual courthouses, putting both the public and court officers at greater risk.

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Budget cuts in courts devastating, say U.S. judges

An Aug. 15 Associated Press article published in the Washington Post reported that the chief judges of trial courts in every state except Nevada told Congress that another round of automatic spending cuts would have a “devastating and long-lasting impact” on the federal courts. According to the article, the judges say that the previous budget cuts have slowed court proceedings and affected public safety in the courtrooms.

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