Mich. Chief Justice again pleads with Governor

John O'Brien Jun. 5, 2007, 4:00pm


LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Supreme Court Justice Clifford Taylor says recent cuts to the state's judicial budget are already being felt.

Justice Clifford Taylor made his concerns known in a second letter to Gov. Jennifer Grandholm, delivered Tuesday. He mentioned many layoffs and court employees taking more than 500 furlough days helping ease the budget crunch, and says he wants to see "unnecessary judgeships" eliminated.

Taylor asked Granholm to delay appointments in three courts -- in Flint, Kalamazoo and Pontiac.

"These communities were found to be overjudged in the 2005 Judicial Resources Report. Our analysis so far indicates the 2007 report, which will be completed by early August, will reach the same conclusion," Taylor wrote.

The state's judicial budget was slashed by $2.94 million earlier this year. Taylor said each trial judge costs taxpayers about $157,000.

Taylor said soon the departures of Court of Appeals judges Jessica Cooper (leaving for private practice) and Janet Neff (becoming a federal judge) will create two vacancies, and that he is considering if the number of judges on the Court of Appeals.

"I ask you to delay filing those seats until we complete our analysis and make recommendations," Taylor wrote.

"There is no urgent need to fill these vacancies. Eliminating unneeded judgeships represents significant long-term savings for Michigan taxpayers. When our reports come out, I hope that you will join me in urging the Legislature to eliminate unnecessary judgeships."

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