The leaders of three legal organizations warned Monday that the safety of judges and courthouse staffs could be imperiled by state funding reductions and looming federal budget cuts, which reduce federal court security funding.
In a statement asking Congress to better fund the courts, the American Bar Association American, the Association for Justice and DRI — The Voice of the Defense Bar said that the cuts that went into effect March 1, called sequestration, will close courthouses and deny access to courts.
"The federal judiciary and every individual and business that depends on our courts will bear the burden for congressional deadlock through costly delays," the statement says.
The groups also point to recent episodes of gun violence on courthouse grounds in several states – such as Alabama, Delaware, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas – to say the cuts "put court petitioners, staff and judges in physical jeopardy."
"Yet sequestration will leave federal court security positions unfunded," the statement says. "State courts are already hamstrung from local budget woes and the projected shortfalls from sequestration will likely mean even fewer resources for state judicial systems."
The statement was signed by AAJ President Mary Alice McLarty, ABA President Laurel Bellows and DRI President Mary Massaron.