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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cutbacks Have Some Courts Dismissing Criminal Cases

Brian Kammer, head of the Georgia Resource Center, which represents indigent death penalty defendants in post-conviction proceedings, looks out from his office in Atlanta. State funding for the Georgia Resource Center has fallen by about $250,000 over three years. (AP)

Budget cuts are hitting the country’s courtrooms hard.

  • In Georgia, courts have dismissed indictments against people accused of violent crimes, including tossing out murder charges.
  • A family law attorney in San Francisco is now advising wealthier clients to settle disputes outside of court because the system is just so slow.
  • In New York, judges have been ordered to halt court proceedings at 4:30 PM sharp to limit overtime pay.
  • In New Hampshire, all civil cases were put on hold for a year.

The result is a legal system in crisis, according to a recent report by the American Bar Association which asked its members to assess the impact of cutbacks on the work they do as judges, district attorneys and public defenders.


  • Bill Robinson, president of the American Bar Association
  • Judith Kaye, an attorney at the law firm of Skadden Arps in New York City and former chief justice of the New York State Court of Appeals

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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