Federal Cuts To Slow Down Prosecutions


It is still early in the budget crisis known as “sequestration.” But, it is expected that cuts to federal spending will directly affect the criminal justice system, particularly in federal district court.
The word is, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will have a smaller budget, which means they will prosecute fewer cases. It is not yet known how this will play out. Is there a particular type of crime that they will ease up on? Will they only go after the most flagrant offenders? We simply do not know at this point.
There does seem to have been a slow-down in cases that were prosecuted in the past 6 months, but this was before the sequestration cuts hit home. I had always chalked it up to the cyclical nature of prosecution — it takes a long time to work up a case, prosecute it, and then move on to the next case. Now, it seems, the slow down may be more lasting.
This also affects the Federal Defender’s office, which has been forced to cut its budget. It is expected that attorneys there will be forced to take furlough days and salary cuts. We will keep you posted.