Proposed budget cuts anger Calif. SC, AG

John O'Brien Jun. 28, 2011, 12:57pm


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - Neither California's supreme court or attorney general are very happy with a budget proposed by Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Monday, Brown announced a deal that bypasses the need for Republican approval and contains spending cuts that alarmed Attorney General Kamala Harris and Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

California's courts system has already been hit with budget cuts in recent years.

"In addition to a $350 million cut to the judicial branch, the governor and the legislature propose sweeping the judicial branch's funding for infrastructure projects - projects to build safe and secure courthouses for the public," Cantil-Sakauye said Monday.

"The money will be placed in the state's general fund. These cuts are unsustainable and incompatible with equal justice for all. This is a sad day for justice in California."

The proposed budget calls for a reduction of $300 million in the statewide court construction fund, the $200 million cut already proposed this year and an additional $150 million cut that was criticized by Cantil-Sakauye earlier this month.

She added that 122 leaders of trial and appellate courts have sent a letter to Brown and lawmakers warning of the impact the budget cuts will have.

Harris, meanwhile, said a proposed $71 million cut in law enforcement funds will eliminate many anti-gang and drug-trafficking task forces.

Harris pointed to recent successes, including the arrest of 101 leaders and members of two gangs in the Central Valley and the seizure of more than 100 pounds of methamphetamine and the subsequent arrest of more than 30 gang members in the Bay Area.

"These cuts will eliminate many, if not all, of these task forces and jeopardize many ongoing investigations," she said.

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