Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to cut the budget for the state courts by an additional $200 million is sad news for California. The cuts that have already taken place have severely impacted the ability of the courts to provide basic services to those seeking justice.
The governor and the Legislature have forgotten that the judiciary is a co-equal branch of government with a rightful claim to adequate funding. California arguably once had the finest court system in the nation. That distinction is in the process of being eroded by lack of resources.
We are heading for a system in which the courts process criminal cases that have priority while the few remaining civil courts become backlogged to the point that people are forced to turn to expensive, private dispute resolution companies. Those who will be most harmed by these devastating budget cuts are low-income Californians who do not have the resources to pay for justice.