Chief Jus­tice presents bud­get re­quest

Imperial Valley Press - - NEWS -

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.

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