’13 Federal Cuts to Justice Programs

Failure to agree on a deficit reduction plan in Washington by the end of the year may result in more cuts to criminal justice programs, according to a report released from the National Criminal Justice Association and the Vera Institute of Justice.

The cuts are a part of a process known as “sequestration,” part of the Budget Control Act passed by Congress in August 2011, which will mandate across-the-board cuts if Congress doesn’t resolve budget issues by the end of the year.

If a plan is not reached, all domestic federal discretionary spending, including for criminal justice programs, will face 8.2 percent cuts starting Jan. 2, 2012, and yearly reductions until the fiscal year 2021.

The report, based on national survey results of 714 responses from government and private organizations, found that U.S. Department of Justice funding to criminal justice agencies and nonprofit service providers has dropped by 43 per cent in the last two years.

Over three-quarters of the agencies and providers reported that their federal aid funding has steadily declined, while about 14 per cent said that the amounts of their grants had been cut by more than half.

Officials say that additional cuts to public safety grants could cripple efforts at the state and local level. More than half of the organizations that responded said that on average they had lost equivalent to 3.4 full-time employees.

Cuts to federal criminal justice grants will mean that substance abuse programs, victims’ advocates, drug task forces and other law enforcement programs could cease to exist now or in the near future. Major programs involved include Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners, federal juvenile delinquency prevention initiatives, and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

“The drug and meth problem are at epidemic levels and resources to combat the scourge are diminishing, which makes it difficult to fight and morale is very low,” wrote a Kentucky law enforcement representative. “Officers are overworked… it’s hard to estimate the devastation these cuts will make to an already horrible condition.”

Federal funding for state and local anti-crime efforts is “at a historically low level,” according to the Criminal Justice Association and Vera Institute.

“We have already reduced our work force by a third due to cutbacks in funding. To put it simply, further funding cuts of seven to nine percent yearly (as sequestration requires) will eventually put us out of business… There will be no one in our district to step up and do the job we have been doing,” wrote a Tennessee drug and violent crimes task force.

Of the effects already felt by the decrease in funding, the following were reported:

•Tucson’s police department was forced to eliminated 194 sworn and 40.5 civilian positions, including dispatchers and crime scene investigators, because of lack of funding.

•Sarasota County, Florida, had to eliminate three jobs at a center for mental health and case management for troubled youth. If the center were to close down, police who now wait just 15 minutes to drop off detained youth at the center would have to hold the detained themselves for up to six hours.

•A Pennsylvania agency said the government budget cuts for various services push these services by default onto local police. Funding for a drug task force, for example, was reduced, shutting down investigations for two months. This, they reported, permitted open drug sales, retail thefts, burglary and other thefts to increase and placed stress on police resources.

•In Carroll County, Ohio, the Sheriff’s Office reported that cuts since 2010 to justice assistance grants caused road patrol to be cut from two officers to one, and incident reports have increased in Carroll County by 32.3 percent. “Loss of personnel will cause lengthier response times and diminish overall security for county residents,” they forewarn.

“Victims and citizens do not want to hear that their safety is being jeopardized due to lack of funds and resources,” responded the Wilton Manors Police Department, in Florida.

“[P]rograms have already been cut 43 percent and those cuts have already had an effect on public safety,” commented Elizabeth Pyke, director of government affairs at the National Criminal Justice Association. The additional cuts mandated by sequestration, according to the report, “could leave the federal-state-local public safety partnership virtually unfunded by 2021.”

Sequestration will be addressed when members of Congress reconvene in Washington, D.C. following the November elections.


Information For Hiring a Criminal Lawyer

Are you in need of hiring a criminal lawyer in the state of California? Do you know what questions you should ask a potential criminal lawyer before you hire him/her? Where do you find the best lawyer to defend you? These are all very good and important questions you need to be asking if you are facing criminal charges in the state of California.

The first thing you will want to do when you are in need of a lawyer is remember your US Constitutional Rights. Under the US Constitution, the Fifth Amendment states “nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”. What this means is that you have the right to remain silent. You should only talk to law enforcement agents after you have spoken to a qualified criminal lawyer. By remaining silent until you speak with a qualified lawyer, you will help ensure that your criminal lawyer will be able to effectively protect your rights as well as possibly being able to help in reducing your sentence or fine.

The second thing to consider when hiring a lawyer is where to find the best one for you. You may want to start by visiting the courthouse and watching some of the criminal lawyers in action. If any case is similar to yours, pay close attention to the results and determine if that outcome is suitable for you. You may also check with law associations and find out who are members of that association and practice criminal law in the jurisdiction your criminal charges are pending.

The third thing to consider when hiring a lawyer is meeting with several of them prior to hiring one. Finding a good criminal lawyer can be difficult, but by visiting a few lawyers and asking them questions, you will be able to make a much better decision on whom to hire to represent you in court. There are several things you need to take into consideration when hiring a lawyer, such as their experience in cases similar to yours, does this lawyer belong to any law associations, and does the lawyer practice in the jurisdiction where you charges are pending? Also, make sure to find out if the criminal lawyer offers free initial consultation.

Once you have decided on a couple potential lawyers, ask them questions to narrow your decision down to the right one for you case. Here are a few questions you should consider asking:

  • How long as the lawyer been practicing criminal law in the state of California?
  • Do any of the lawyer’s past clients have positives things to say about the lawyer?
  • Will the lawyer fight aggressively for you in regards to the criminal charges you are facing?
  • Does the lawyer charge a flat rate or does it vary based on the direction of the case (will there be additional charges if the case goes to trail)?
  • Does the lawyer have the time and staff needed to fully represent you in this criminal case?

Having to hire a criminal lawyer can be one of the most difficult decisions someone has to make. Without conducting some research on whom would provide the best legal representation for you could result in a less favorable outcome. However, by asking the questions mentioned above, you should be able to find a criminal lawyer that will represent you fully and aggressively in court.


The Secret About Criminal Lawyers

Criminal lawyers are the ones who specialize in dealing with cases involving individuals or organizations with criminal allegations to their name. The main aim of the best criminal lawyers is to help their clients form such a strategic legal defense so that there is no scope of losing the case. Regardless of the criminal offences a person is charged with, hiring the top criminal lawyers of the city will definitely pay off for the good of the respective client.

Importance of criminal lawyers

Criminal defense lawyers are always ready to help their clients in case they are charged with any sort of criminal offence. Since they are experts in their field of knowledge, they are able to provide high quality service to clients who need them. There are 24 hour criminal law firms that suggest best lawyers to people, as per their needs.

The criminal defense lawyers study the case presented to them thoroughly and look for any loopholes in their favor. Then they use these strong points and form a good argument to be presented in the court at the time of hearing. With their experience and skill, they are able to help people charged with criminal offence to win the case in court.

How to get good criminal lawyers

It is not necessary that all lawyers you contact are extremely good in their field. To hire the services of the top lawyers of the city or the country, you must conduct a detailed research on the performance history of 24 hour criminal law firms. These criminal law firms must have the top notch lawyers who are highly experienced and are dedicated in their field of work and whose main goal is to satisfy their clients better than any other criminal defense lawyer.

Providing the best criminal defense service does not mean that top criminal lawyers should charge extremely high rates for their services. Besides delivering high quality service to clients charged with criminal offences, these talented lawyers must also see that they do not put a financial burden on their clients.

All lawyers must also try to explain the legal aspects of the case to their clients and not try to fool them. It is important that people understand how their lawyer is fighting for the case so that they can provide necessary help whenever required. Communication must be rock solid and useful to both lawyer as well as client. Expertise is the key to look out for, while hiring a lawyer.

In a nutshell, criminal lawyers help people win criminal cases but only if they are extremely skilled in their field of knowledge.