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Cutbacks in California court system produce long lines, short tempers

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Not surprised. We are having similar issues in Minnesota due to budget cuts. Because the counties are smaller, the drive distances are not an issue but clerks windows are closed certain days so they can get the behind the scenes work done, there are not enough judges and clerks to deal with the cases, and the public defenders offices have been cut so bad that some attorneys are scheduled to be in 3 county courts at the same time. In fact, one attorney actually faced contempt charges because he chose to attend a different case in a different county scheduled at the same time. Also, free legal services for civil cases are no more.

Some counties such as Hennepin has such a back log of cases that if everyone chose to answer and fight, it would take almost a lifetime to get through them all, even with the pocket docket setup. There is also a danger of criminals getting set free because their demand for speedy trial was not met.

The problem is that government has its priorities screwed up. The courts should never have to beg for money and should always be fully funded as that is the most important aspect of the government. It would be like a person going on vacation rather than paying their house payment or utilities (or even for food for that matter). Instead, we argue to protect social services in hopes that if the court system suffers enough, people will be willing to pay higher and higher taxes.

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