October 8, 2013: Seven State Bar Association Leaders Urge Congress to End Devastating Funding Cuts to Federal Courts

Presidents of the state bar associations in Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, Nevada and Florida send a letter to members of their respective Congressional delegations urging them to end devastating cuts to federal court funding. 

The letter was signed by Paula H. Holderman, president of the Illinois State Bar Association; Jonathan Hollingsworth, president of the Ohio State Bar Association; Ralph J. Lamparello, president of the New Jersey State Bar Association; David M. Schraver, president of the New York State Bar Association; Patrick J. Fiedler, president of the State Bar of Wisconsin; Alan Lefebvre, president of the State Bar of Nevada; and Eugene K. Pettis, president of the Florida Bar. 

The letter was sent to members of Congress representing each of the seven states.  Among the recipients are House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Highlights of the letter include:
• Continued failure to adequately fund federal courts places the public at risk and puts justice in jeopardy.
• Cuts in staffing have resulted in slower processing of civil and bankruptcy cases in some courts, thus causing individuals, small businesses, and corporations not to have their disputes and matters heard in a timely manner.
• Funding cuts to the federal defender services are most troubling in that it directly impacts a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel and a speedy trial.
• Federal sequestration cuts imperil the federal judiciary in its efforts to fulfill its obligations under the Constitution and federal law.
• Significant cuts and reductions for court security, drug testing, substance use disorder, and mental health treatment programs, as well as parole and probation services, increase the risk to public safety.
• The letter concludes by asking that sufficient funding be provided to the federal courts.

The seven state bar associations have a combined membership of more than 286,500.

The full text of the letter and supporting testimony of Judge Julia S. Gibbons are available here: www.nysba.org/lettertocongress.

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Contact: Mark Mahoney 
Associate Director, Media Services & Public Affairs
mmahoney@nysba.org
518-487-5532