Sequestration cuts hit court systemby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The top federal judge in Minnesota says the sequestration budget cuts are having a major impact on the court system here.
The federal judicial system is taking a financial hit because of sequestration, and even more budget cuts are likely in the coming years especially for federal public defenders.
The state's federal courts are now dealing with a funding cut of almost 16 percent, Chief Judge Michael Davis said
Chief Federal Public Defender Katherian Roe said public defenders across the country have already been furloughed. That has not happened in Minnesota yet, but Roe says it is a strong possibility.
"We can't know that we'll be that fortunate in the fiscal year '14," Roe said said. "Because it looks like the funding issue and the sequestration issue will be much worse in 2014."
Roe said she ha already had to cut her budget for expert witnesses in order to pay attorneys.
In Congressional testimony last month, US Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer said sequestration cuts will slow down the entire judicial system.
Davis says no matter what happens, the court will still uphold its constitutional duty.
"I'm a strong believer that the Constitution has to be applied to all citizens, and we will do our best to make sure that defense services are not weakened in any way for this district," Davis said.