The Iowa Supreme Court’s Chief Justice is suggesting ways to streamline the state’s judicial branch, but clerk of court offices would remain open in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.Chief Justice Louis Lavorato drew fire when he suggested closing some clerk of court offices and he dumped the plan in December. Now, Lavorato suggests re-drawing judicial district lines so there’ll be five not eight districts, re-assigning district court judges and eliminating a few administrators in the process. He also asked legislators to reduce the courts’ workload by getting rid of duties like a 24-hour probate court and cemetery management.Lavorato says the challenges ahead need more than a quick fix. He says everyone in the state has to be willing to consider new ideas that at first blush may seem radical.Lavorato delivered the annual “Condition of the Judiciary” message this morning to legislators. He says the state reflects the times in which we live and the future is uncertain. Lavorato says access to justice is an ongoing concern in the wake of state budget troubles.Lavorato warned legislators that if they pass more “get tough on crime” laws, the courts will be overwhelmed.
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