Courts told to expect a 4.2 percent budget cut: 'in order to do that it may mean reductions in services'.As legislators began the "daunting daunt
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.
[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin task" of trimming some $1 billion from the state's budget, chairs of the two committees that will hold great sway over the judicial branch's new allocations say they will make reduction recommendations with an eye toward protecting the public.
The chief justice and other court system leaders also learned during pre-special session hearings in Tallahassee the last week of August to expect cuts in the neighborhood of 4 percent, instead of the potentially crippling crip·ple
1. A person or animal that is partially disabled or unable to use a limb or limbs: cannot race a horse that is a cripple.
2. A damaged or defective object or device.
tr.v. 10 percent cuts the governor had asked all state agencies and branches to prepare for.
Sen. Victor Crist Victor Crist is a Republican member of the Florida Senate, representing the 12th District since 2001. Previously he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1992 through 2000. , RTampa, chair of the Senate Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations, said the governor put the branches and agencies through the 10 percent budget reduction exercise so lawmakers could have some flexibility in taking a look at areas that could be modified in the budget.
"I've been told it is going to be more like 4.2 percent," said Crist, adding some areas will see reductions greater than that percentage while others, less.
"In order to do that it may mean reductions in services; it may mean the reduction of some programs; it may mean some reduction in staffing; it may mean some internal changes for efficiencies; but we are going to be looking at what keeps the public safe," Crist said.
Rep. Dick Kravitz, R-Orange Park, chair of the House Safety and Security Council, also warned that Florida's revenue crisis may not be just a one-year problem. State budget experts have predicted the state could face a $2.5 billion shortfall next year.
"It's probably going to be a long-term affair over several sessions," Kravitz said. "The priority should be in protecting the public safety in these budget cuts," he added. "That's the main reason government exists, to protect the public."
Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Wilton Manors, said he hopes to mitigate the impact of cuts on the judicial system, in recognition of its status as a third, co-equal branch of government.
"When you have funding issues in other areas, you have a funding crisis," Seiler said. "When you have funding issues with the courts, you have a constitutional crisis."
Chief Justice Fred Lewis For other persons named Fred Lewis, see Fred Lewis (disambiguation).
Frederick Deshaun Lewis (born December 9 1980 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi) is a backup outfielder for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball. testified before both Crist's and Kravitz's committees August 28. He told lawmakers the judicial branch is willing to do its share, but reiterated in order to keep the citizens of Florida safe "we do have to have an operational, fully funded court system to resolve these disputes."
In recommending areas for reductions, Chief Justice Lewis said the courts did their best not to eliminate jobs.
"I think this committee and the legislature recognizes that over the years we were operating not with fat, but we were operating from flesh and blood," Lewis told the Senate panel.
State Courts Administrator Lisa Goodner said the state court system accounts for only about 0.7 percent of the total state budget. Lewis also noted the trial courts are still trying to implement Revision 7 to Art. 5, the 1998 constitutional amendment requiring the state to take over more funding of the trial courts.
"So if we cut too far into this, we are just really rolling back Revision 7," Chief Justice Lewis said.
Crist also said he will try to "tread lightly" on the state attorney and pubic pubic /pu·bic/ (pu´bik) pertaining to or situated near the pubes, the pubic bone, or the pubic region.
1. defender budgets, saying they are on the "top of the list of do not disturbs Do not disturb usually referes to a status where the subject prefers to be left in solitary.
It can also mean the following:
Rep. Mitch Needelman, R-Melbourne, asked if lawmakers could be given specific guidance on what would be the effects of 2, 4, 6, or 8 percent budget cuts. Eighth Circuit State Attorney William Cervone, vice president of the FPAA FPAA Field-Programmable Analog Array
FPAA Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association
FPAA Fairmount Park Art Association (Philadelphia, PA)
FPAA Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
FPAA Fire Protection Association of Australia , said that would be a difficult prediction to make. He noted, for example, that a state attorney could not eliminate a victim assistance unit because by law state attorneys are required to provide those services, although the state attorney could cut back that unit.
"Give us the flexibility as individual officers to see where we can afford it and we will try to have the least impact on public safety," Cervone said, noting that a full 10 percent cut could mean a layoff Layoff
1. When a company eliminates jobs regardless of how good the employees' performance. 2. A risk reduction, made by investment bankers, that minimizes the potential downside associated with a commitment to purchase and sell a stock issue unsubscribed by stockholders holding of about 10 percent, or 200, of the state's approximately 2,000 assistant state attorneys.
Eighth Circuit PD Rick Parker Richard Alan Parker (born March 20, 1963, in Kansas City, Missouri) was a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets and Houston Astros. He played from 1990-1996. Sources
FPDA Flexible Premium Deferred Annuity
FPDA Five Power Defence Arrangements (joint defence arrangement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom) , told the Senate panel that each assistant PD in the state already averages a caseload case·load
The number of cases handled in a given period, as by an attorney or by a clinic or social services agency.
Noun of 600, and the turnover rate for PDs last year was 24 percent.
Rep. Nicholas Thompson, R-Ft. Myers, asked about requiring judicial approval as a way to reduce depositions and hence costs in third degree felony felony (fĕl`ənē), any grave crime, in contrast to a misdemeanor, that is so declared in statute or was so considered in common law. cases. But Fourth Circuit PD Bill White said many third degree felony cases are settled before depositions are taken, and in other cases the depositions help lead to an early plea bargain plea bargain n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between the defendant and his attorney on one side and the prosecutor on the other, in which the defendant agrees to plead "guilty" or "no contest" to some crimes, in return for reduction of the severity of the , saving time for prosecutors, public defenders, and the courts.
Crist noted that in the past two legislative sessions "we funded the courts first and then everybody else second because for the last eight years prior, the courts were [treated] like a stepchild step·child
1. A child of one's spouse by a previous union.
2. Something that does not receive appropriate care, respect, or attention: "Demography has a reputation for being the stepchild of . . . in the process."
"As you know the trial courts are basically where the rubber meets the road, and one of the things we all realize is when there is a downturn in the economy, unfortunately, one thing happens--crime increases," said Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Belvin Perry, chair of the Trial Court Budget Commission.
"We realize this state is suffering great pain," Perry said. "They only thing we are asking ... is that you give us a voice in determining what gets cut."
Second District Court of Appeal Chief Judge Steven Northcutt, chair of the DCA (1) (Document Content Architecture) IBM file formats for text documents. DCA/RFT (Revisable-Form Text) is the primary format and can be edited. DCA/FFT (Final-Form Text) has been formatted for a particular output device and cannot be changed. Budget Commission, reminded lawmakers that DCAs' budgets also are in people and buildings--not programs--and filings have risen 5.3 percent in the past few years, with the biggest percentage of that increase coming in the form of criminal and juvenile cases. He noted the DCAs have not received any new judges to deal with rising caseloads since 1999, and 1993 before that.
Victoria Montanero, director of the Justice Administrative Commission, said her agency, which has about 30 people to process invoices for state attorneys, public defenders, capital collateral regional counsels, the guardian ad litem A guardian appointed by the court to represent the interests of Infants, the unborn, or incompetent persons in legal actions.
Guardians are adults who are legally responsible for protecting the well-being and interests of their ward, who is usually a minor. program, and conflict attorneys, is being overwhelmed o·ver·whelm
tr.v. o·ver·whelmed, o·ver·whelm·ing, o·ver·whelms
1. To surge over and submerge; engulf: waves overwhelming the rocky shoreline.
a. with bills. Just since the July 1 beginning of the fiscal year, an additional 13,000 invoices have been received, and private attorneys acting as conflict counsel--heeding a legislative deadline--have submitted an additional 4,000 bills. Cutting staff will only slow down payments, which in turn could make private attorneys more reluctant to take court appointments in conflict cases, she said.
Rep. Kravitz said the House Policy and Budget Council will have the major say in the lower chamber on crafting the initial budget cuts. The panel, he said, will hold hearings before the special session begins later this fall, and probably have its initial meetings on a proposed bill during the session's first week.
Crist said while lawmakers take on the "very daunting task" of finding more than $1 billion in reductions, he will work to "spread the pain to make it as painless pain·less
Free from complication or pain: a painless operation.
painless·ly adv. " as possible.
"We are going to have to work together to face these challenges," Crist said.
By Mark D. Killian
Managing Editor and