LOS ANGELES, CA—Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a $202 billion-dollar budget with emergency pandemic funding, increased aid for unemployment, and billions of dollars in cuts to account for the deficit. California’s Judicial Branch was one of the hardest hit by the cuts, with $200 million being slashed from the state court system. However, $150 million could be restored by additional aid from the federal government by Fall 2020. As it stands now, $176.9 million will be cut from the trial courts and $23.1 million from the California Supreme Court, appellate courts, the Judicial Council of California, and Habeas Corpus Resource Center.
LACBA President, Tamila Jensen, issued the following statement: “In light of budget cuts that will continue to challenge the court system and test access to justice, California’s Judicial Branch is resourcefully working to balance the needs of the public, judicial officers and staff, and lawyers. We applaud the courts’ measured leadership in the face of this unprecedented crisis. We will continue to work closely with the courts and our judicial partners to ensure we serve the public to the best of our ability.”
California Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye added, “The initial budget for the coming fiscal year is not a surprise based on what the Governor laid out in his May Revise. As I said then, the projected budget deficit is sobering. I realize our unusual fiscal year may mean more budgetary changes later this summer or even this fall, dependent upon whether the federal government provides relief in a COVID-19 stimulus bill. In the meantime, we in California’s Judicial Branch will work hard to serve the public during a global pandemic and recession.”