I hand filed a divorce for a new client today. I hand filed it because at this court they have less then 60% of the staff the staffing study says is needed – and it is taking weeks for mail to be opened and processed.
Despite hand filing, the counter clerk refused to give me the Summons so I could serve the other party – she said that there were only two counter clerks and she would mail it to me. I supplied her with an envelope with a stamp self-addressed to me – there is no one to address envelopes and postage is underfunded.
Now, in this case, a husband walked out to live with his pregnant mistress – and left his wife of 17 years, his 14 year old, and 7 year old to cope.
What if it was a husband, and the wife left, and said, “Good luck seeing your kids?”.
Six days have passed. The Summons has not come in the mail. How am I to seek relief for my client or serve her husband?
As Judge Peter W. Agnes, Jr said today in No shortchanging justice
The governor’s budget cuts won’t simply lead to delays; conflict that is not addressed appropriately in court will be resolved inappropriately in our homes and on our streets. Access to justice by lottery is not access to justice at all.
Budgets are about choices. This year, the Massachusetts Legislature took many difficult choices. The judicial branch is prepared to meet its obligations with the budget we received from the Legislature. But if the governor’s latest cuts are allowed to stand, there will be a heavy price to pay in the future.
Of the Governor’s vetoes, $18.5 million, of 12.5 percent are taken from the judicial branch, though only two percent of the budget is spent on the judicial branch.
Only in court can the “little guy” fight city hall, injustice, and the squeeze from on high. I guess the little guy doesn’t count for much when the Governor looks at the big picture – nor does access to justice.