Budget cuts have crowded courtrooms and jails to the bursting point, allowing justice to languish in many locations, legal experts and many working in the judicial system tell USA Today. They cite three common problems: tougher law enforcement without expansion of jail and court infrastructure; failure to improve court procedures over many years, and overworked judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys continually postponing hearings.
“There’s a huge crunch in the judicial system because of a lack of resources,” said Margie Paris, dean of the University of Oregon School of Law. “The speed with which we’re moving cases along and the quality of justice is really being compromised.” The California Supreme Court in October upheld the dismissal of 18 criminal cases in Riverside County, including two felonies, because there weren’t enough judges to hear them. A prosecutor there expressed outrage. “The failure of the state to provide adequate resources (.) has led to criminal defendants being rewarded with dismissal,” he said.