An Illinois State Bar Association special committee has issued a 64-page report that addresses the serious funding crisis facing Illinois courts.
“The long-term goal should be more than just alleviating the funding crisis,” said ISBA President John E. Thies, of Urbana. “Restoring courts to their proper place as a co-equal branch of government will return to the citizens of Illinois far more than the amount invested.”
In June 2012, Thies appointed a Special Committee on Fair and Impartial Courts, co-chaired by Illinois Circuit Judge Patricia P. Golden (Ret.), of West Dundee, and Illinois Appellate Court Justice James M. Wexstten, of Mt. Vernon. Their report and recommendations, which were accepted on May 17 at a meeting of the ISBA Board of Governors in Galena, will be voted on by the ISBA’s policy-making Assembly when it convenes on June 22.
According to the report, “The ability of the courts to deliver fair, timely and professional service has been degraded over the last dozen years by three trends: unpredictable budgets, cuts in real allocations, and disproportionate cuts. Funding cuts have affected all aspects of the judicial process.”
To identify the areas of special concern, the committee surveyed the chief judges of each judicial district in Illinois, as well as practicing lawyers. They then identified several problem areas and made recommendations that include the following: