Escambia County faces a slower justice system
Published 9:29 pm Monday, October 13, 2003
There's an old, well-worn saying regarding the workings of local, state and federal courts -- "The wheels of justice turn slowly." For the most part, that's true. For better or worse, our system is set up so that even under ideal conditions, it sometimes takes what seems like ages for civil and criminal cases to be adjudicated.
And from the point of view of those waiting for justice, especially if they or their loved ones have been victimized, that waiting can be difficult and painful.
Unfortunately, that's not going to change anytime soon in Escambia County or anywhere else in Alabama. In fact, it's likely to get worse before it gets any better, thanks to state-mandated funding cuts that are causing the elimination of many court positions across the state.
Among the most hurtful layoffs, at least in regard to our local courts, are being made in the Circuit Clerk's Office. The Escambia County Circuit Court is losing three of its seven full-time deputy clerks on Nov. 28. Circuit clerks and their deputy clerks are the people who shepherd the paperwork for each case through the system, and much of what happens in the courtroom depends on that paperwork.
This and other hardships resulting from the cuts are inevitably going to have an impact on how cases are dealt with here. Priority is going to be given to criminal cases, but even those are likely to bog down a bit at some point.
It's hard for people to be understanding of governmental entities and the hardships they face. It's supposed to work the other way around. But the people of Escambia County may have to get used to the wheels of justice turning a little more slowly than usual in the coming months, and realize that those working behind the scenes are doing the best they can with reduced resources.