The Underfunded State Judicial System

Passed 8/26/2013

WHEREAS, the equal right to liberty and justice under the law is a key principle to our democracy, as the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution provides that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws;” and

WHEREAS, increasing court costs, legal fees, court closures, and delays create a discriminatory practice in the courts depriving economically disadvantaged persons of equal justice under the law by creating a barrier of affordability to due process, which includes an affordable and speedy trial; and

WHEREAS, the closing of courts and reductions in court staffing levels have resulted in irreparable and irreversible harm to the public, causing increased costs and delays from court closures and lack of availability to justice in the community, greater danger to public safety and harm to children and families seeking to redress child/spousal support and domestic violence issues, as well as increasing costs of doing business in the state;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley supports access to justice for all Californians and calls on the California government to find non-discriminatory means to restore adequate funding to the California court and justice systems; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley proclaims that justice should not be based on the wealth of a person or entity and will send a copy of this resolution to Governor Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and Budget Chairs Mark Leno and Nancy Skinner.