Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 13, 2012

State court system to be off Monday

Furlough days among cost-cutting measures in response to budget cuts

Staff report
The Independent

FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s court system will take the last of three scheduled furlough days on Monday.

The furlough days are among several cost-cutting measures enacted by the state Administrative Office of the Courts to deal with major budget cuts to the judicial system enacted by the General Assembly. It’s the first time since the modern court system was formed in 1976 the Judicial Branch has had to close courthouse doors to balance its budget.

The furloughs are for non-elected court personnel and affect employees of the supreme court, court of appeals, circuit court, district court, offices of circuit court clerk, the Administrative Office of the Courts and all court services, including pretrial services, drug court, the court designated worker program, court interpreting services, the state law library and driver’s license branches.

The Kentucky Supreme Court has approved two orders that provide guidance on how the statewide court closures are to be implemented. Following is a summary of what the public and the law enforcement and legal communities should expect on furlough days:

‰Trials and other court proceedings will not be scheduled on furlough days as there will be no staff available. Items already on the docket for those days will be rescheduled.

‰Driver’s licenses will not be issued.

‰The supreme court will suspend its rule requiring pretrial officers to interview a defendant within 12 hours after incarceration. No pretrial services staff will be working on furlough days.

‰Deputy clerks will not be available to process bonds and no release orders will be issued.

‰Existing after-hours protocol will be followed for processing domestic violence orders and emergency protective orders.

‰Local court designated workers will not be available. The court-designated worker program will have a supervisor available to ensure law enforcement adheres to its statutory requirements in cases involving the arrest and custody of juveniles.

‰Technology services staff will not be available to recover the CourtNet database in the event the system experiences an interruption in service.

County offices that share space with the state court system in courthouses and judicial centers will not be affected.