December 28, 2018: Statement from State Bar Association President Michael Miller on the Impact of the Federal Government Shutdown on the Administration of Justice

“The federal government shutdown poses grave dangers to the administration of justice, and the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) urges the President and members of Congress to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the judiciary is sufficiently funded during the current budget impasse.  

“While federal courts remain operational, there is still confusion regarding which court-related services are available and what offices within the federal courts system are staffed and available to serve attorneys and others who may not be involved in specific legal proceedings, but nevertheless need to interact with the system. 

“The shutdown is already having a serious impact on the administration of justice. Using identical language in matters across the nation, the U.S. Justice Department has now asked federal courts nationwide to pause all proceedings in cases involving the government, stating the government shutdown has restricted the ability of lawyers to perform their duties, including meeting court-ordered deadlines and communicating with attorneys across agencies.

“The impact that the shutdown will have on public safety is also a serious concern. The federal courts supervise nearly a quarter of a million probationers and defendants awaiting trial. The shutdown will invariably diminish the number of pretrial service and probation officers available to supervise convicted probationers released into the community.  

“Also, the quality of supervision of accused pretrial defendants released on bail is jeopardized by the shutdown.  We are deeply concerned that less supervision may inevitably to lead to more crime and more danger to the community. 

 “The federal court system is the citadel charged with insuring proper administration of justice and our nation’s adherence to the rule of law. Operations of the federal courts – and, indeed, justice for all Americans -- should not and must not be subject to the vagaries of politics. 

“NYSBA calls upon Congress and the White House to take such steps as are necessary for the Judiciary to be sufficiently funded immediately to continue to meet its constitutional duties.” 

About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, the Association has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.

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Contact: Brendan Kennedy
bkennedy@nysba.org
518-487-5541