Adequate court funding is essential because courts exist to serve the public and support democracy. Year after year, however, budget cuts force our courts to do more with less, threaten to close courthouse doors and put our most fundamental rights at risk.
Our August 2012 Contra Costa Lawyer deals with alternative dispute resolution resources. Nearly every article mentions how court budget cuts compel more and more attorneys and their clients to seek alternative routes to justice, including mediation and arbitration. Along with our selection of articles on how to make the most of alternative dispute resolution opportunities, we want to provide you a list of recent articles that show the extent of the court funding crisis.
The current budget crisis is wreaking havoc on our judicial system and it is poised to do even more damage depending on the outcome of this fall’s elections. What could that mean for people trying to litigate in our courts? It could mean a lot- including massive delays in hearing anything other than criminal and juvenile law cases, suspending adjudication of all small claims and limited jurisdiction cases. Below is a selection of articles that show the impact of budget cuts thus far:
- July 16, 2012 - San Francisco court worker’s strike shuts down the court.
- June 20, 2012 – Court closures expected to hurt rural communities (Valley Public Radio)
- June 4, 2012 – Court Reporters are no longer available for civil cases in Alameda County
- May 26, 2012 – All seven Fresno County branch courts are closing for good
- May 24, 2012 – Judges in California Join to Stop Courts Cuts (Wall street Journal)
- May 22, 2012 – San Francisco Superior Court is forced to end settlement program, transitions to volunteer-driven program
- May 18, 2012 – CA Superior Courts Facing Massive Budget Cuts and Layoffs (Humboldt Sentinel)
- May 17, 2012 – Dark Days for California’s Courts (Mercury News)
- March 5, 2012 – LA Superior Court forced to close 50 courtrooms and lay off 300 court employees
- More articles and resources on the CCCBA website
- Even more coverage on the Bar Association of San Francisco’s website