Mass. Court Officials Seek More Funding For Staff, Raises

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Massachusetts judges and court officials are asking lawmakers for $12 million more than the governor's budget proposal for next fiscal year to hire more staff and give judges their first raises in seven years.

Trial Court Administrator Harry Spence said Thursday that the courts have had to reduce staff by 1,300 workers over the last four years.

He said continued cuts would threaten the very rule of law.

"[The cuts would] begin to not just slow down the workings of the court system, but dramatically interfere with the public's trust that they can rely on the courts," Spence said.

As he called for giving judges raises, Spence said Massachusetts judges' salaries are among the lowest in the nation, when adjusted for inflation.

"It is getting harder and harder for the governor's office, who makes the appointments of new judges, to attract outstanding lawyers to the bench," he said. "And, in addition, we lose judges, particularly as their children approach college-age."

This program aired on February 21, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.