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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 142174 Find in a Library
Journal: Trial  Volume:29  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1993)  Pages:26-27,30-32,34
Author(s): K J Chesebro; N Miltenberg
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A number of lawyers have brought lawsuits that challenge judicial administration systems that result in unacceptable delays due to the government's failure to allocate more resources to the judiciary. This article explores several substantive avenues by which these cases might be pursued.
Abstract: The most promising strategy for challenging court delays is to base a claim on the Federal right of access to justice. At least three doctrinal bases are available for such a claim: the first amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, the due process clause, and the seventh amendment right to trial by jury. Regarding the first doctrinal basis, it is unclear whether courts will be willing to extend the currently vague contours of the right to petition the government for redress of grievances to require mitigation of excessive court delays. In challenging court delay on due process grounds, the plaintiff must show the existence of relatively extensive delays and a resultant deprivation of justice that is pervasive. Regarding the right to a jury trial, a plaintiff may show that court backlogs that create extraordinary delays may violate this guarantee. In addition to establishing that the right of timely access to the courts is a matter of law, plaintiffs must also meet additional requirements. They must create a strong factual record that budget cuts will create enormous, unacceptable delays in the progress of civil suits; the most sympathetic plaintiffs must bring suit to demonstrate the human cost of budget cuts; and a broad coalition of supporters must be built and public opinion enlisted to put pressure on the courts, the governor, and the legislature. 53 footnotes
Main Term(s): Court delays
Index Term(s): Access to courts; Right to Due Process; Right to trial by jury
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