Legislators on the committee that drafts the budget for the state court system are asking if there’s a way to collect more court fees — to make up for expected budget cuts ahead. According to State Court Administrator Todd Nuccio, most people involved in criminal cases can’t afford the current fees.
“You also have an access to justice issue on the civil side” he said during a statehouse meeting earlier this week. “There’s a tipping point where you are not making the bar too high for the public to gain access to the court.”
Nuccio is the top administrator in the state court system. He’s warning lawmakers of court delays and possible closures if they cut more from the court system’s current budget what’s been proposed.
“We would not be closing courthouses or closing clerks of courts offices, to be more specific, with the $1.6 (million cut),” Nuccio said. “You go beyond that $1.6 (million), we start to have to look more seriously.”
At one point this year, Senate Republicans voted for a nearly $5 million cut to the courts. Nuccio says he’s holding 134 jobs open in the court system, in anticipation of the current round of cuts to the current year’s budget.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Katarina Sostaric)