GA State of the Judiciary – Portentous

Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears

delivers Georgia State of the Judiciary

Yesterday Georgia’s Chief Justice delivered the Georgia State of the Judiciary to the state legislators. In it, she noted that access to justice continues to play a large role in the function of the judiciary.

Although Georgia and South Carolina are geographic neighbors, we also have similar interests regarding access to justice during this trying economic crisis.

Excerpts from her speech from the Rome News Tribune:

The judicial system’s budget is less than one percent of the overall state budget, but we play a huge role in protecting the safety and security of Georgia citizens. Unfortunately, like others in state government, we have had to slash our budget to the bone. We have reduced personnel and cut our expenditures. 

Because of the effects of the nation’s bad economy, people will need access to justice now more than ever. We already see this happening. The number of mortgage foreclosure cases in Georgia is at an all time high. Debt collection has increased dramatically. We may also begin to see an increase in other types of problems that typically escalate during tough economic times, such as crime, child abuse, domestic violence and substance abuse. . . .  Administering justice under the law is a function that only government can fulfill. The determination of guilt and innocence, property rights and parental rights, legal privileges and power are judgments only government can make. Administering justice is one of the reasons governments exist. If we neglect this fundamental obligation to the people, we break trust with them, and ultimately, lose their confidence. And for government, public trust and confidence is everything.

For the full text, click here.