Proposed cut backs could impact local courts

Proposed cut backs could impact local courts (Image 1)

A 15 percent cut back for the Alabama judicial system would mean scaling back the number of clerks in courthouses.

The Chambers County Clerk’s Office would have to downsize their staff of eight down to just three employees.

“If the clerk’s office personnel is cut, then we will not be able to have a clerk in court with us. Their office is not going to be able to stay open, in order for people to come in and pay tickets ahead of time, which is going to clutter up the dockets, because they are going to have to wait until they come to court,” said Calvin Milford, District Court Judge, Chambers County.

Circuit Clerk, Lisa Burdette, said they are currently operating with a limited staff and additional cuts could bring long wait times to those awaiting their day in court.

“Right now, we have criminal jury term twice a year. So, it takes a couple of years for cases to come around as it is now….and you could be looking at 4 or 5 or 6 years for it to come around with these cuts,” said Lisa Burdette, Circuit Clerk, Chambers County.  

The District Attorney’s Office also faces significant cuts in funding, which is something, District Attorney; E. Paul Jones has become accustomed, too.

“I took office a little over 10 years ago, and my state budget, the money appropriated from the state of Alabama to the operation of my office, which is to prosecute the criminal cases in this circuit, has been cut by 50 percent,” said E. Paul Jones, District Attorney, Fifth Judicial Circuit.

The proposed budget cuts could limit the days courts are open to hear cases pushing back civil court hearings.

“You have to make the cuts or increase the taxes. You know, it kind is what it is, and you have to make a decision that is in the best interest of the state. In my opinion, these cuts are not in the best interest of the state,” said Burdette.

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