Fla. Courts and Those Who Use Them Brace for July Slowdown as Budget Cuts Take Effect

Reduced hours, as state budget cuts take effect in July, are expected to slow down processes at Florida court clerks’ offices throughout the state next month.

In Palm Beach County, the clerk’s office will close its doors to the public at 4 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. to deal with a $2.5 million budget shortfall, although workers will still stay until 5 p.m., the Palm Beach Post reports. An earlier Palm Beach Post article provides additional details.

Similar cuts are taking place in courthouses throughout Florida as detailed by articles in the Miami Herald and the Hernando Today edition of the Tampa Bay Times.

Clerks say they anticipate frustration with the longer lines that likely will result from reduced service and pray that the mortgage foreclosure docket doesn’t suddenly increase.

“It’s awful. They only answer the telephone now a couple of days a week; things take a week or more to get into the official records; judges don’t get files for hearings; the whole thing is a mess,” attorney Michael Feiler of Miami told the Herald last month. “Overall service has declined drastically—not because of the clerks, who work hard—but because of the lack of staff and the ridiculous workload.”

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “Witnesses Describe State and Local Courts Reeling from Budget Cutbacks”

ABA Journal: “Sustaining Justice: 10 Experts Tell How Courts Can Do More with Less”

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