Connecticut courts wary of budget cuts

Washington — Earlier this month, dozens of federal judges, including Judge Alvin W. Thompson, who sits on the U.S. District Court in Connecticut, wrote to congressional leaders to say that a 5 percent budget cut “forces us to slash operations to the bone.”

The budget cut, a result of sequestration — automatic federal spending cuts imposed in March — have resulted in reduced court hours and a slowdown in the processing of cases in many federal courts. But not in Connecticut, at least not yet, said Joanne Pesta, operations supervisor at the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Pesta said the federal courts of Connecticut have dealt with the budget cuts by freezing all hiring. But she said that can only go so far to solve the problem, and that sequestration “is a concern for all of us.”

“I would assume that we will suffer,” Pesta said. “But we don’t know when or how.”

In their letter to Congress, the federal judges said, “We believe that our constitutional duties, public safety, and the quality of the justice system will be profoundly compromised by any further cuts.”