Chief Justice Roy Moore: Court System Underfunded $19 Mil


By Jessica Gertler

From Montgomery -- Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is speaking out about financial troubles in the court system. Moore sits down with Alabama News Network to explain why he's not happy with the governor's proposed budget.

The stack of letters and e-mails from judges and clerks gets higher every day. Each tells Moore the problems they face.

"We are losing personnel, and we are losing money in this system," says Moore.

Earlier this month, Governor Robert Bentley unveiled his budget for next year. While Governor Bentley says the judicial system was flat funded, Moore begs to differ.

"They didn't take into consideration the failure or under performance of the judicial administration fund, which is the fund that was built to regain $25 million they cut last year," he says.

And when you add increased health care costs, Moore says the judicial system is being cut short $19 million. Without it, he says the courts will not run properly meaning there could be more than 400 people laid off, dockets will pile up and trails will fall behind schedule. Moore is asking lawmakers to revisit the budget.

"It's not right to tax the people anymore," he says. "We are over taxed now. We need to look at cutting unnecessary expenditures in government and there are some."

But how likely is it that lawmakers will give the courts more money?
"Everybody has got to make it work with what they got," says Rep. Barry Mask, R-Elmore County. "The fee increase that we did last year is just going to have to work. That's my opinion, and I think it's shared by many of my colleagues."

In 2002, Moore halted jury trails to save money, and since then, he says budget issues are not any better.

"The question is can we provide the services or will it cause longer delays," he says.

Moore says he sent a letter to Governor Bentley expressing his concern, and says the governor is looking it over.

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Anonymous said on Thursday, Feb 21 at 7:33 PM

if you are going to write news copy please spell correctly...its trial not trail.

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