Malloy, Judicial Branch release budget balancing proposals; four courts to close
Updated 2:19 pm, Friday, July 15, 2011
HARTFORD --Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has released the details of his plan to balance Connecticut's two-year, $40.1 billion budget without a labor savings agreement in place.
Also released on Friday were the Connecticut Judicial Branch officials plans to lay off about 450 employees and close four courthouses and a juvenile detention center because of the state's budget problems.
Included in the closures will be the Danbury Juvenile Court. Matters from there will be moved to Waterbury and Stamford.
Criminal and motor vehicle cases will be moved from Derby Superior Court to Milford Superior Court. Similiarly, Norwalk Superior Court criminal and motor vehicle matters will be moved to Stamford Superior Court.
The Derby and Norwalk courts will be open three days a week for regional infractions and small claims cases.
Malloy's proposal, which was due to the General Assembly on Friday, includes a wide range of programmatic and job cuts.
The state's vocational and tech schools will be forced to cut their sports and arts programs for a two-year period.
In many cases, funding was reduced. AIDS services are cut $1.6 million over two years, but not eliminated. Funding is cut 10 percent for numerous social service programs, such as elderly services.
But there are also closures. Eighty of 110 detoxification beds in Middletown will be closed. Funding for a bus transporting needy workers in Hartford County to jobs at the casinos is eliminated.
On the judicial branch side, The layoffs and cuts released Friday include 167 temporary court clerks, 53 temporary court recording monitors, 49 adult probation officers, 34 judicial marshals and 29 office clerks. Officials also plan to close Enfield Superior Court, Danbury Juvenile Court, Torrington Juvenile Court and Rockville Juvenile Court.
Chief Justice Chase Rogers says the Judicial Branch will be forced to place higher priority on criminal cases, and the cuts are expected to delay civil, family, housing and small claims cases.
Rogers says she's not sure if the courts will be able meet people's rights to access to justice under the state constitution after the cuts.
Lawmakers say they plan to hold hearings on the cuts, but still hope union leaders can reach a deal with Malloy.