Friday, December 10, 2004
Court gets good news on budget
There's some good news for the federal court system and its employees.
Because of a slight increase in funding for the federal judiciary in the budget for fiscal year 2005 that Congress recently passed, federal courts in the Western District of Virginia will not likely have to take tough austerity measures.
"We were afraid people were going to have to be furloughed or laid off," or that the court might have to close one day a week, said James Jones, chief judge of the Western District of Virginia.
The budget increase means that none of those measures appears likely now, Jones said. Other federal courts around the United States did have to take some of those measures.
The total budget for the judiciary for fiscal year 2005 is $5.42 billion.
Jones also said that with the good budgetary news, the plan to establish a federal public defender's office in the Western District of Virginia is also back on track.
Now that the budget is approved, the Administrative Office of the Courts will notify the appropriate congressional subcommittees when Congress reconvenes in January, Jones said.
Assuming that there are no problems with the funding appropriation for the establishment of the office, the matter would then be turned over to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which by law is responsible for selecting a federal public defender, Jones said.
He said he expects the office to be established within this fiscal year or the 2005 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2005.