Wednesday, June 19 2013 10:40 PM EDT2013-06-20 02:40:53 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- The entire Kentucky court system will be closed Monday – marking the first of three furlough days for judicial branch employees.
The furloughs were seen as a lifesaver – unpaid time off that will help avoid layoffs – after state lawmakers approved a $25.2 million budget cut for the judicial branch.
Courtroom benches will be empty, the hallways silent. Suspects who are arrested for minor offenses could find themselves in jail until Tuesday.
"It is important to all of the judges. We want to serve the community. We were elected to serve the community. We can't do that when courts are shut down. It's frustrating for us. We're all concerned about the jail and our community members," said District Court Judge Angela McCormick Bisig during a one-on-one interview with WDRB News Sunday.
August 6th is one of three furlough days mapped out for the state judicial branch as part of a $25.2 million dollar budget cut. The others are: September 4th and October 15th.
District Judge Angela McCormick Bisig says the furloughs will create a bottleneck in the court system and local jails.
"People need their cases resolved, we need our laws enforced, and now we've gotten to the point where we're not going to have court three days. That's a serious issue," said Judge Angela McCormick Bisig.
With courts closed, clerks can't collect bonds and attorneys can't file motions. Even murder cases are put on hold. And the closing also means even if you are arrested for a minor offense where you'd normally be released on your own recognizance, you could wind up in jail until Tuesday, McCormick Bisig said.
The judge calls the decision for the furloughs unfortunate – even in tight budget times when lawmakers are slashing spending.
"The fact is – once courts are closed – there is going to be a consequence and it's important for people to know that," said McCormick Bisig.