Waiting for trial? You can expect to wait even longer now that the state courts are losing a significant amount of funding. Cutbacks of astronomical proportions will delay just about everything in the New York court systems but just how some of the effects will be felt remains to be seen.
More than $170 million has been shaved off the courts’ budget, putting stress on a system that is already backlogged and overburdened. Cuts are being made in every direction and many people are wondering how the changes could negatively impact the pursuit of justice.
One program being eliminated was actually created to help reduce court backlog, hiring retired judges to hear cases. Special weekend courts in the city are being cut in half. And if a defendant isn’t brought before a judge within 24 hours they may have to be released—an obvious cause for concern.
This week about 350 employees of the court will be laid off. This includes lawyers and clerks and comes after 75 layoffs in the administrative sector just a few months ago.
Jurors will no longer receive a free lunch and judges are seeing their book allowance reduced.
The changes that will be felt by most are in the overall reductions of staffing, leading to delays longer than those already present. It’s said that everything will take longer with the cuts. Even something as seemingly minor as closing courtrooms early at 4:30pm will likely have a cumulative effect, pushing cases further and further back.
The president of the New York State Court Officer’s Association has a bleak outlook on the entire thing, “Within two or three months, the system’s going to come to a halt.”
Waiting for justice is nothing new. Court dates scheduled weeks and even months down the road are not unheard of and this is only one of the frustrating aspects of dealing with New York state courts. When you are facing criminal charges and have to wait on the system for justice to be served, you have every right to get frustrated.
While a criminal defense lawyer can’t speed up time, they can help you understand what’s happening with your case and work to minimize the effect of the charges on your life. If you are facing charges, contact our attorneys today for a consultation on your case and to discuss your options.