Due to budget cuts, state prosecutors anticipate major layoffs. According to a press release from the Office of the Attorney General, the layoff plan is being formulated now. Thanks to underfunding in the fancy budget we just botched together to jack our state up, approximately 100 people from prosecutors’ offices across Kentucky will be given the weighty, broken, backwater axe. That’s ten percent of the prosecutorial workforce in the commonwealth.
“We simply do not have the money to keep our existing staff on board,” said Ray Larson, Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney and member of the Prosecutors Advisory Council. “Now that the budget has been finalized, we will begin to formulate how the layoff plan will be implemented so that to the extent possible, public safety will not be compromised,” said Larson.
Excited yet? It gets better.
Every criminal case filed in the Commonwealth must be prosecuted by a County or Commonwealth’s Attorney. Caseloads for prosecutors have increased dramatically in the last ten years. In 2007 County Attorneys were handling caseloads in excess of 3,000 cases per prosecutor. Since the addition of Family Courts in 2002, County Attorneys are now handling at least 40,000 more cases each year. County Attorneys are responsible for prosecution of all District Court cases – including misdemeanor, juvenile and domestic crimes.
Since 2002 Commonwealth’s Attorneys, responsible for prosecution of all felony cases, have seen a 21% increase in their caseload. In 2002, approximately 27,000 felony cases were filed. Last year, nearly 32,000 felony cases such as murder, rape and child sexual abuse were filed. This is a 7,000 case increase from just five years ago.
The layoffs are freaking both the presidents of the County and Commonwealth’s Attorneys Associations out.
“The budgets of the Unified Prosecutorial System are personnel driven,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron. “We do not have state cars or other expenses that can be cut when we are not funded sufficiently. In our case, personnel accounts for more than 90% of our budget.”
Brucie Moore, President of the County Attorneys’ Association, notes that the budget for the County Attorneys is over 98% personnel. “The County Attorneys of this state are already overburdened and stretched to the limit. Losing people from these offices is going to be devastating to the criminal justice system.”
Just more evidence that your governor and legislature are working hard for you, Kentucky. They tried really hard to hammer out that budget in the five seconds remaining in the session. Hope you all don’t starve to death as a result.
Read the six million billion page press release after the jump…