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March 25, 2009

Stop Court System Budget Cuts, Association Urges City

The Philadelphia Bar Association is calling upon the city government to reconsider proposals to further reduce the budget of the city’s court system, stating that doing so would adversely impact the administration of meaningful justice.

“While we understand the economic difficulties facing our city, the Mayor’s proposed budget cuts are shortsighted and would be a severe detriment to Philadelphia’s justice system,” says Chancellor Sayde Ladov.

“The Bar is dedicated to maintaining access to justice for all people,” she continues. “Making additional budget cuts not only compromises our justice system but the order that governs and sustains our lives.”

The court system’s budget has already been slashed $4.3 million, leading to 92 vacant jobs, less funding for prosecutors and the District Attorneys’ office as well as a reduction in jury panels, causing trial delays. According to the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, the city’s proposed plan would shut down all courtrooms for 15 days in 2010.

“That’s three business weeks of suspended justice for countless members of the community,” Ladov says. “That’s unacceptable. To delay justice is to deny justice. Judges are already being forced to postpone trials due to unavailable juries. Prosecutors and defense attorneys are facing significant challenges. Further cuts would be a serious mistake.”
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