“Unless the House and Senate agree to a budget that meets mandated discretionary spending caps or enact an alternative bipartisan deficit reduction plan, the federal courts could be subject to yet another round of across-the-board budget cuts,” Silkenat said in a letter to ABA members. “We must urge Congress to enact a fiscal year 2014 appropriation for the federal judiciary that restores funding cuts and assures access to justice.”
As a result of fiscal year 2013 sequestration cuts, the federal court system has already had to continue downsizing and furloughing staff, while scaling back programs that ultimately save the government money. In addition, funding reductions have caused cutbacks to federal defender services that jeopardize the Sixth Amendment rights of many indigent criminal defendants, slowed down the processing of civil and bankruptcy cases, and reduced pretrial and probation office programs as well as drug testing and mental health treatment programs.
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