Cuts will hurt courts

Posted Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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If the automatic budget cuts under the sequester take effect Friday, they will require the layoffs of one-quarter of all federal court personnel, including those who work in the federal courthouses in Abilene, Dallas, Fort Worth, Lubbock, San Angelo and Wichita Falls.

These court personnel reductions will be felt in a number of areas. The hearing and resolution of thousands of cases in federal courts, both civil and criminal, will be delayed. Hours of operation in the clerks' offices will be sharply reduced. Federal judges will likely suspend jury trials because of reductions in available jury fees.

Security for litigants, court personnel and members of the public in our courthouses could be compromised. And the supervision of persons under pretrial release, along with released convicts, would likely be lessened, thereby potentially threatening community safety.

The bottom line is that these automatic budget cuts will harm justice, our economy and the safety of our communities. Congress must find a way to overcome its partisan differences and agree on appropriate solutions to our fiscal problems.

-- Joseph F. Cleveland Jr., president,

Fort Worth chapter, Federal Bar Association

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