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Appeals judge warns Congress of ‘unsustainable’ impact of court budget cuts

Posted Mar 21, 2013 8:19 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal appeals judge warned a congressional panel on Wednesday that $350 million in sequestration cuts to court funding has resulted in emergency measures that are “unsustainable, difficult and painful to implement.”

Judge Julia Gibbons, chair of the U.S. Judicial Conference’s Budget Committee, said sequestration could result in case delays, inadequate representation for criminal defendants, and reduced courthouse safety, the National Law Journal reports.

"I am not a fan of hyperbole and I avoid it," said Gibbons, a judge with the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "It is no hyperbole when I say we have deep concern about our ability to fulfill our constitutional mission."

She said the federal public defender program will be especially harmed because there are few ways to cut its budget other than reducing personnel or rent expenses, according to the NLJ account. "These cuts will affect the judiciary's ability to provide quality defense counsel for indigent defendants," she said.

A press release provides more information.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Kennedy, Breyer warn that court budget cuts could have costly impact"

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