Busy courts and lower paid workers will suffer during 3 judicial shut-down days, chief justice says

05/29/2012 03:49 PM

Kentucky’s busiest court systems will suffer as the judicial branch shuts down for three days later this year to save money, the commonwealth’s top judge said.

Chief Justice John Minton said the systems that handle the most cases, such as Jefferson County, will need days to catch up after a forced furlough day.

“Essentially a court system operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. But with furlough days, there will be interrupted days … It will fall hardest on the busiest courts.” (5:40 of the first interview video)

Minton announced earlier this month that the system would need to shut down for three days to save enough money to maker its budget. But it will affect certain workers disproportionally.

Many clerks and secretaries around the state “are working at or barely above the federal poverty level,” Minton said. “The stability of the court system really depends on these very dedicated people.” (1:30 of the first segment).

Judges, meanwhile, are constitutionally required to receive certain salaries. But Minton said he will be taking a pay cut and the judicial branch is considering publishing the names of other judges who volunteer to take a pay cut.

Minton spoke on Pure Politics May 18, the day the news broke that he was re-elected chief justice for another four-year term.

In the second segment, Minton also talked about the consequences and cost of the expiration of the senior judge program, which started under former Chief Justice Joe Lambert.

“My only option then will either to be one, for the regional judges around the state, to pull a judge off of his or her docket … or there are some retired judges,” Minton said. But the judicial branch would have to pay those judges out of an already strapped budget. (2:50).

And Minton said raising court costs isn’t an option. Find out why (3:10).


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