Chief Justice presents budget request
State Chief Justice Magistrate Juan Ortiz Morales has presented lawmakers with a budget proposal of 1.4 billion pesos, or $73 million, for next year.
Ortiz said the judiciary branch needs a minimum of three quarters of that amount to operate normally. However, he said the additional funds will go to build Family Meetings Centers to provide a neutral space for divorced parents to visit their children when visitation would otherwise not be possible.
The justice also expressed need to open new facilities for the Coroner’s office and additional family courtrooms.
“In fairness, it is necessary to compare penal justice in our country,” Ortiz said. “For example, the national average of penal cases per judge is 46.32 while in Baja California we had registered 239 penal cases per judge, well above the national standard.”
According to Ortiz, staff has saved money by implementing a series of administrative measures to stretch resources, but the strategy stopped being effective.
Last year, justices requested a similar funding for the 2018 budget, but legislators approved 68 percent of that amount.
The judiciary budget is 2.4 percent of expenditures of all state expenses.
Ortiz also emphasized the need to adjust salaries for staff, who have seen their income decrease over the last decade due to inflation and salary freezes.