There really does need to be a “working group” on Administration of Justice. Why:
Well, for starters, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the ONLY state where there is a separate line item for each court. What happens is if the representative for “your” local court has clout, the roof gets fixed. If not, it leaks and is understaffed. Not very fair or 20th Century – at least if you ask me.
Not only that, but there is already a deficiency in the appropriations to pay court-appointed attorneys and vendors (line items 0321-1510 and 0321-1520) for work done during Fiscal Year 07 (FY 07). Such deficits led to a crisis in the courts in 2004-2005 and it would only hurt the indigent and working poor for this to recur, I think. This kind of poor planning, that hurts the most vulnerable citizens such as children in foster care and children in need of services really should be fixed in advance.
Please note that OTHER very significant problems with our courts are not resolved, as well-detailed in the “Monan Report” which can be found at http://www.mass.gov/…
I continue to be concerned as issues with delivery of legal services above and the courts above are not being addressed in any of the working groups shown on the Transition Team Page.
A working group on “Administration of Justice” would cover both these issues, as well as other issues affecting justice. There is no such working group, as yet.
The courts should be treated as an equal branch of government, and planning for the courts including appointment of judges really could be – and I think should be – going forward in an open and organized manner.