US judges urge Congress to give courts more money

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Top federal judges in 49 states are urging lawmakers to avoid another round of automatic spending cuts that would have a "devastating and long-lasting impact" on the federal courts.

The unusual letter from the chief judges of trial courts in every state but Nevada says that the $350 million reduction in the judiciary's budget for the current year has dramatically slowed court proceedings and put public safety at risk. The judges say that there are fewer probation and other law enforcement officers to deal with record numbers of convicts who have been released from prison or given alternative sentences.

The letter was sent this week to congressional leaders in both parties in the House and Senate. Congress is not in session in August.

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