Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Senator Evans Respond to Proposed Budget Cuts to the Judiciary

Thursday, January 10, 2013

SACRAMENTOChief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and State Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today issued the following joint response to Governor Brown’s 2013 budget which proposes a $200 million transfer from the Immediate and Critical Needs Account:

“Like our sister branches of government, the judicial branch sees both reasons for hope as well as reasons for concern in the Governor's proposed budget,” said Cantil-Sakauye.  “The good news is that it appears our trial courts will not suffer additional general fund reductions for the 2013-24 fiscal year.  Unfortunately, our immediate and critical needs account, which is vital for court safety and compliance projects, stands to lose another $235 million, nearly eliminating meaningful upgrades for several years.”

“Access to justice is a core tenet of our Democratic values,” echoed Senator Evans. “The judicial branch has taken detrimental hits that have left local courts unable to meet the needs of millions of Californians.  Although this budget proposal spares deeper cuts, the buildings which house justice are still crumbling and we have no further resources to rebalance the scales of justice.”

“Trial courts, courts of appeal, and the supreme court are already suffering from four consecutive years of on-going cuts, reductions in services, and delays in disposition of cases,” continued Cantil-Sakauye. “Given the exhaustion of one-time funding solutions to continue backfilling/redirecting on-going cuts to local trial courts, the 2013-14 Fiscal Year will have a devastating impact on injured victims, children, families, consumers, merchants, landlords and tenants, and many others who depend on the courts for relief and to resolve disputes.”

“Under my leadership, the Judicial Council will continue to fight for better understanding about and funding for the judicial branch,” said Cantil-Sakauye. “We serve every Californian, we are here for California businesses and we are critical to law, order, public safety and a healthy democracy.”

“It is critical that we restore funding to enable a functioning judiciary that preserves our democratic governance,” concluded Evans.  “This year, our supermajority gives us the opportunity to let our actions speak louder than our words.  Justice delayed is justice denied and it would be a degradation of our responsibility to let this opportunity pass.”

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is the leader of the state’s third branch of government, the Judicial Branch.  Her responsibilities include serving as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, chair of the Judicial Council, and chair of the Commission on Judicial Appointments.

State Senator Noreen Evans represents the Second Senatorial District, including all or portions of the Counties of Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma. Senator Evans Chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary and is the outgoing Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.