Three Legal Chiefs: Safe Access to Justice in Peril

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For Immediate Release: March 4, 2013

Contact: Michelle Widmann Kimmel
American Association for Justice

Three Legal Chiefs: Safe Access to Justice in Peril
Leaders of top legal organizations speak out against the effects of sequestration on the courts
Washington, DCThe respective leaders of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), the American Bar Association (ABA) and DRI — The Voice of the Defense Bar warned in a joint statement released today that imminent budget cuts through sequestration will impinge access to justice at the state and federal levels and put court petitioners, staff and judges in harm’s way.
“The federal judiciary and every individual and business that depends on our courts will bear the burden for congressional deadlock through costly delays” said the presidents of the three justice organizations.
Sequestration, cautioned the groups, is doubly troubling for state courts, which have “endured years of withering cuts despite overwhelming caseloads.”
Recent gun violence on court grounds across the country — including Alabama, Delaware, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas — is a chilling reminder of the life-and-death importance of courthouse safety. “Yet sequestration will leave federal court security positions unfunded and also reduce the pool of available resources at the state level,” according to the legal organizations. 
The three presidents closed by appealing to policymakers to provide adequate funding for federal and state judiciaries.
“Access to justice is a promise that would be too costly for our country to deny.”
The statement issued by AAJ President Mary Alice McLarty, ABA President Laurel Bellows, and DRI President Mary Massaron Ross is available here.
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