As the state of Illinois continues to reconcile budget shortfalls, the court system will suffer furloughs and layoffs. These administrative decisions will have negative ramifications on victims
trying to have their day in court, even after the state Senate is able to vote in a fix.
Currently there is a $17 million shortfall
in the state's budget for Court Reporting Services. This will result in broad layoffs and furloughs throughout all of the circuit courts in the state. For example, this means two court reporters will be laid off from the Eighth Circuit alone and the rest will be furloughed to half of their normal schedule until the state legislators find a way to compensate for the deficit. Many courts have been operating on a furlough schedule for the past two weeks by working half their normal hours. Not only does this mean their pay is cut in half, but the number of cases heard is also greatly diminished.
Recent Budget Approval
The Illinois House and Senate, however, narrowly avoided this growing catastrophe by approving a budget fix on March 26th. The measure was approved by the senate 32-26 and was supported both by the governor and House democratic speaker. It addresses the overall budget shortfall of $1.6 billion with broad 2.25 percent cuts
and sweeps to transfer $1.3 billion from other areas in the budget.
Despite the last minute fix, it is impossible to ignore the steep human cost that comes with all of this budget jockeying. As the Chief Judge for the Fourteenth Circuit stated
, "It's a crisis. It's a crisis to the system, it's a crisis to our court reporters. They are family and they have families." Furthermore, it is a crisis that affects many plaintiffs and their claims, because court reports are not only required to be present during felony cases but they are to be made available as often as possible for civil cases.
The furloughs, layoffs, and delays will cause even further backlog in the court system, a fear that has been expressed by the judges themselves as the budget drama takes a toll not only on court employees and operational issues in the court, but on trials and pleas as well. In fact, even with just the two-week furlough prior to the vote, trial schedules have been set back for months. As Judge Daniel Shane said, "People who were to have had their day in court — their day of justice — were delayed for months because of two weeks of furloughs."
Attorneys Are Here to Help
In order for victims to have their day in court, the courts need to be fully operational. Furloughs and layoffs such as what happened during the month of March significantly harm the ability for plaintiffs to receive compensation for their injuries and costs. However, despite the delays and cutbacks to the court system, an attorney experienced with the state's system will know how to navigate the civil process and move your case as quickly as possible or who can bring the other side to the table to reach a financially beneficial settlement.
If you have suffered any personal injury caused by an accident, do not despair. Instead, please contact an experienced DuPage County personal injury attorney
at Mevorah Law Offices LLC. We can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries in a timely fashion. Please contact us today if you need help.