Countywide : Judges Appeal to State for Emergency Funds


The county’s judges took their plea for more than $31 million in emergency funding to a state commission Thursday, the next step in a potential legal showdown with the county.

In a legal notice to the Trial Court Budget Commission, the county’s six Municipal and Superior Court presiding judges said local courthouses face “drastic consequences” without the extra $31.6 million and would not have enough money to continue operating between April and July.

The commission could decide to shift money from other courts elsewhere in the state to satisfy the request. If the commission should turn down the request, as local judges are expecting, court officials could then legally order the bankrupt county to pay the money.


Court officials initiated the complicated legal procedure last month when they served a similar “deficiency notice” with the Board of Supervisors. County officials requested more budget information from the courts before responding to the request, and a deadline passed last week without any definitive word.

County officials have said they are grappling with the bankruptcy and don’t know where to find any additional money, calling on the state to step in and help.

The judges have said the courts are reeling from state cutbacks and bankruptcy-related budget reductions, along with rising caseloads, and that without increased funding, they might run out of money by April 15.

The state commission is expected to take at least 15 days before issuing a response.