Gavel Grab

Federal Court Officials Announce Courthouse Closures and Furloughs

Federal courts all across the country are announcing that they will be furloughing employees and closing courthouses in the wake of across-the-board federal budget cuts earlier this year.

Courts in Colorado and other states are planning to close on Fridays from April 26 through September, according to the Blog of Legal Times. U.S. Chief District Judge Marcia Krieger of Colorado ordered “an end to hearings and trials in criminal cases” during those five months.

The article states that the full consequences of the $350 million cut to federal court funding are “still unknown.”

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has mentioned that Department of Justice employees may be furloughed, but he will not make a final decision on this until mid-April.

In Utah, judges have decided that they will only hear criminal cases every other Friday. In New York, the Federal Public Defender’s Office is planning “20 unpaid furlough days for its staff,” the article says.

“It’s been devastating – people are, in essence, taking a 20 percent pay cut,” said the Federal Public Defender’s Office executive director David Patton. “Our budget is being cut 10 percent, but since we’re half way through the fiscal year, it’s really 20 percent of our budget.”

To learn more about the budget cuts resulting from federal reductions called “sequestration,” see Gavel Grab.

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