Archive for January, 2016

A Judge Speaks Up for the Values in Our Constitution

posted by Judge_Burke @ 15:30 PM
January 6, 2016

The Huffington Post recently reported:

The Massachusetts Supreme Court chief justice has issued a powerful and encouraging reminder to Muslims amid a wave of Islamaphobic sentiment:  The U.S. Constitution is on your side.

Chief Justice Ralph Gants spoke at the state’s largest mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, following afternoon prayer on Friday. Gants acknowledged it was a “difficult time” for Muslims in America, with the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, igniting a fresh wave of discrimination, hate and even violence.

“And I am here to assure you that you do not stand alone,” Gants said. “You have a Constitution and laws to protect your right to practice your religion, to protect you from discrimination and the denial of your equal rights, and to protect you from acts of violence that might be committed because of your religion or your nation of origin.”


Read Gants’ full speech here.



Lessons for Creating a Domestic Violence Court

posted by Judge_Burke @ 15:30 PM
January 5, 2016

Robyn L Holder (Griffith Criminology Institute) has posted Specialist Domestic Violence Courts: Planning (and Researching) for Long Haul System Change on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

The numbers of specialist domestic violence courts in the USA is over 400; there are about 70 in Canada and 140 or so in the United Kingdom. Recently some of the first such courts in Australia – those in Western Australia – were announced to close and Queensland’s first has just commenced a pilot phase. This presentation reflects on what researchers and policy-makers alike might learn from this picture. Drawing on experience with two long established criminal family violence courts – the ACT Family Violence Intervention Program (Australia) and the Manitoba Family Violence Court (Canada) – it is argued that clarity of problem-analysis, and longer term thinking and planning is critical.



Kansas Supreme Court Issues Ruling on Separation of Powers

posted by Judge_Burke @ 16:30 PM
January 4, 2016

The Kansas Supreme Court recently struck down a section of state law that took away the court’s authority to appoint chief judges in the state’s 31 judicial districts in a case that could threaten court funding.

The court said the section violates a provision of the state constitution giving the state supreme court general administrative authority over the state’s courts, reported the Kansas City Star, the Topeka Capital-Journal and the Lawrence Journal-World. The law had switched power to appoint the chief judges from the state supreme court to the judges in each district.

The court also found a violation of the separation of powers doctrine.

The decision “may bring the state closer to a crisis over court funding,” according to the Capital-Journal. A nonseverability clause in the 2014 law says a decision striking down any provision of the law would invalidate the entire law, including, apparently, provisions for state funding of the judiciary.



Bad News for Drug Court and DWI Courts in Wyoming

posted by Judge_Burke @ 15:30 PM
January 4, 2016

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead’s budget recommendations for the upcoming 2017-18 biennium include a nearly $4.8 million reduction in funding for the state’s Court Supervised Treatment programs such as Drug Court and DUI Court.

The programs are administered by the Department of Health’s Behavioral Health division.  The suggested cuts amount to about 56 percent of the budget for those programs.  DOH was counting on receiving that money as part of the state’s tobacco settlement funds.

Wyoming and 45 other states take in millions of dollars each year as the result of a settlement reached back in the late 1990s with the country’s five largest tobacco companies.  But that revenue has been slowly declining over the past few years.