Kentucky Chief Justice says proposed budget cuts would 'cripple' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Chief Justice says proposed budget cuts would 'cripple' the state's court system

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky's Chief Justice is fighting a plan that could cut jobs and close courtrooms.

Chief Justice John Minton said the proposed budget cuts the could "cripple" the state's court system.

That's why Minton left his office at the Capitol and testified before the Senate Appropriations & Revenue Committee on Monday. He also called the proposed cuts catastrophic.

"The whole future of Kentucky's court system hangs in the balance, and I have to make that known," Justice Minton said.

"I am done with being cool and calm and collected. The hair that I have left, Mr. President, is on fire."

Justice Minton said he is trying to save the state's court system and jobs. He went to the senate committee after the house passed a budget that he said will lead to a reduction in staff across the state.

"The layoff of 600 employees would be a part of trying to make up the difference if we have to endure the cuts that the house has imposed on us."

Judges from Jefferson County and across the state were also in Frankfort to support their leader.

"We are not just cutting fat. We are not cutting just muscle. The proposal that is on the table is now we are cutting the bone," said Judge Irv Maze with the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

Judge Maze said Jefferson County's drug court would be one of the painful casualties.

"I used to run it as the county attorney. It is the right thing to do. It keeps people out of prison and it restores lives."

In the end, Minton's passionate words seemed to hit their mark.

 "I don't sense you use these words lightly," Kentucky Senator David Givens said. "You used the words 'cripple the court system.'"

The judicial branch budget now goes to the full senate for a vote. That is expected to happen sometime this week.

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