State budget cuts could delay courts

Legislators are proposing a $4.8 million cut to the judicial branch

DAVENPORT, Iowa - Iowa lawmakers are trying to keep the state budget in check. That might mean $4.8 million in budget cuts for the courts.

The judicial branch saw a $3 million cut last year. If lawmakers approve the current proposal, State Court Administrator Todd Nuccio said it could mean layoffs -- as well as closing 30 county court houses. 

Local family law attorney Jennifer Olsen said her clients are already seeing major delays in their cases and more cuts will make things worse. 

Olsen said the county has two unfilled judge positions from last year's cuts. That shortage means plenty of delayed hearings. Olsen said it's not unusual for her to find out the day of a scheduled hearing that there's no judge available. 

The delay could be months, but she said it was a 2-year wait for one of her clients. 

"We're an entire branch of government that has to be funded properly. So I think that the impact is going to be horrible on our citizens and I don't think people are understanding or realizing that," said Olsen, who is also the president of the Scott County Bar Association.

Olsen says the Scott County Court House would most likely not close, but overflow from surrounding counties could cause more delays


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