Ala. Chief Justice concerned courts don't have enough funding - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Ala. Chief Justice concerned courts don't have enough funding

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Alabama's top judge says the court system is in trouble. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says Governor Robert Bentley has not recommended enough funding for the court system.

Jefferson County Commissioner Joe Knight, who is the liaison with county courts, is concerned.

"We have committed as a county with some of the supplements to the bailiffs in order to keep the courts up and running on a full schedule," Knight said.

Jefferson County Commissioners are looking at giving county courts $350,000 to cover part of the cost of court security. The state legislature passed a bill to raise fines and court costs to raise an estimated $25 million to give state and county courts, but so far the money has not come in to the estimated level. Alabama lawmakers don't know where they will get the money.

"Where is the money going to come from? This state is flat broke. We've done bond issues. We've played with money. We tried to get money from heaven. The money is not there. The state is broke," Representative John Rogers said.

Coming up with the money won't be easy. Representative Mary Moore says the state should reconsider giving tax breaks to companies to lure them to Alabama.

"They have given away the whole hen house. The gave away the hen. They are giving away the rooster. They wonder why they don't have ownership of the eggs coming out?" Moore said.

Knight says the money has to be found.

"If not we are going to back up services and back up services and back up services. The courts accessibility is paramount to citizens. People deserve their day in court," Knight said.

Moore said without additional funds there will be even more court layoffs.

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