Attorney: Shutdown could cause 'critical' court backlogs

Source: MGN Online
Source: MGN Online

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Add the Federal Court System to the list of entities affected by the government shutdown. The courts have already been running on fees and other funds since the start of the shutdown.

The Federal Court Clerk in Birmingham says that money will only last till Thursday. At that point, the courts will run out of money and all nonessential work will be stopped and nonessential workers will be furloughed. The federal court clerk said they have been very conservative with their spending and right now they don't expect a delay in litigation.

During the shutdown, judges can still select and seat jurors, however they will not be paid until Congress comes up with a deal and provides funding. Court-appointed attorneys will also wait to get paid.

Huntsville attorney Mark McDaniel said the court system is already cash-strapped, and a continued shutdown puts the courts in a critical state.

"Case load is already extreme for the Federal Judges, Magistrates and U.S. attorneys," said McDaniel. "You put lack of funding on top of that, you slow things down and that puts the backlog even greater. It's going to get critical, it's going to be a tremendous problem."

McDaniel said if they start limiting the days for jury trials, that will make the back-log even worse.

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