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January 21, 2014 > Wieckowski joins Chief Justice in effort to keep courts open

Wieckowski joins Chief Justice in effort to keep courts open

Submitted By Jeff Barbosa

ÒCaliforniaÕs courts need additional funding if they are to adequately meet the demand for access to justice,Ó Assembly Judiciary Chairman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) said during a press conference on the steps of the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building, across from the state Capitol. Wieckowski joined Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, legislative colleagues, judges and small business owners in calling for restoration of funding after years of budget cuts.

ÒCalifornians rely on a fully functioning court system to protect their constitutional rights, secure protective orders, resolve child custody issues, and settle business disputes,Ó Wieckowski said. ÒI share the concerns of the Chief Justice regarding the importance of access to justice and the need to provide fair and adequate funding for the judicial branch.Ó

The courts have seen a loss of more than $1 billion in funding due to the Great Recession. Governor Jerry BrownÕs new state budget proposal calls for an increase in funding of $105 million. Wieckowski said that total should be a Òdown paymentÓ toward the $266 million the courts will need to begin addressing past reductions.

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye said 205 courtrooms have been closed, 51 courthouses and people are forced to often drive long distances just to have their day in court.

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