Quince outlines principles for stabilizing court funding

first_img February 1, 2009 Managing Editor Regular News Quince outlines principles for stabilizing court fundingMark D. Killian Managing EditorFlorida’s courts need a sufficient and stable funding source in order to serve the public and meet its constitutional obligations, according to Chief Justice Peggy Quince. Addressing those attending The Florida Bar’s “Funding Justice” summit in Miami January 16, Chief Justice Quince said the judicial branch is particularly vulnerable to economic instability in that 87 percent if its budget is devoted to salaries and more than half of those salary dollars — 53 percent — must be used to pay judges. Consequently, budget reductions disproportionately erode the staff support necessary for courts.Quince said new budgeting practices — including the redirection of filing fees to the courts — must be adopted to better stabilize court operations.“This is not going to be an overnight fix,” Quince said. “We are looking at how we can address things for the long haul.”To do that, Quince said, the courts have outlined seven principles for stabilizing court funding: 1) The elements of the state courts system, codified in §29.001, should be adequately funded by the state to ensure the guarantee of court access by Florida’s citizens.Quince said adequate and equitable funding has been compromised by the recent budget reductions that over the past two years has seen the judicial budget reduced by $44 million and the elimination of 282 positions.When funds are unavailable for staff that provide adjudication and administrative support, their tasks are left for judges to handle and the cost associated with using judges to cover this work load is significantly higher than the expense of non-judge resources, she said. 2) Court fees assessed and paid by Florida’s citizens to access their court system should be dedicated to the court system.Quince said only small portions of filing fee revenue are currently dedicated to the courts. The rest — from fees, fines, and costs that are not being held by the clerks to fund their offices — go into Florida’s general revenue fund. 3) Unless adequate safeguards are in place, court-related revenue other than filing fee revenue (revenue derived from fines, service charges, and costs) should not be dedicated to court funding but used to support other justice system partners.Quince noted one of the reforms brought about by the 1972 amendment to Article V was the elimination of the courts’ reliance on fines for funding. A return to such cash register justice would be a step backward, she said. Filing fees are a more appropriate source of revenue for the courts, because they are more directly related to court work load and activity. 4) All current court-related revenue being collected should be reevaluated to determine what portion of current filing fee revenue should be dedicated to court funding. In addition to the filing fee revenue being directed into the state’s general revenue fund, a substantial portion is being held by clerks to pay for the court record-keeping functions. Pursuant to Article V, §14(b), the clerks are funded through filing fees, fines, service charges, and court costs. However, the clerks’ budgets are not appropriated by the Legislature, but are instead overseen by the Florida Clerk of Court Operations Corporation that reviews and certifies clerks’ budgets as prescribed by law. All trial court clerks are members of the corporation. For those clerks who project the revenue within their county will be insufficient to fund their court-related activities, the statutory process provides for the shortfall to be funded from revenue “surpluses” from other counties. Further, the maximum budget amounts authorized for the clerks’ court-related activities are a function of the total amount of revenue anticipated in a given fiscal year. 5) Additional or increased filing fees should be considered, but only after an adequate review of the distribution of the current filing fee revenue has been made.According to the Office of the State Courts Administrator, if such additional fees are considered, studies from other states indicate that the following sorts of fees are fairly common:• An increased filing fee to reopen cases for dissolution and child support.• A filing fee for all repeat violence cases, as very few of the cases currently being filed are legitimate claims of repeat violence.• A new filing fee for selected motions that involve significant judicial work load in the civil and probate divisions.• A sliding scale fee for probate and guardianship cases based on case value.• New fees in the appellate courts for pre-opinion and post-opinion motions, a new fee for amicus curiae briefs, a fee increase for cross appeal/joinder/intervenor filings, and a new service charge for file review.• A reschedule fee in civil cases when hearings are cancelled without reasonable notice.“These are just ideas we have looked at, and we are not actually proposing these because we think that the first step absolutely has to be a reevaluation of what is already here,” Chief Justice Quince said. 6) Some components of the state courts are more appropriately funded from the general revenue fund and should remain so. I n particular, judges’ salaries should remain as a general obligation, while the operating and staff resources needed to keep the courts functioning can be paid from trust funds. 7) State Court Trust Funds are the appropriate depositories for court filing fees.“We believe these principles will focus the court system and others on how we can be adequately funded,” Quince said. Quince outlines principles for stabilizing court fundinglast_img read more

UWF Volleyball Defeats Loyola-New Orleans, 3-1

first_img PENSACOLA, Fla. – The University of West Florida volleyball team (12-4, 3-0 GSC) defeated Loyola-New Orleans, 25-21, 23-25, 25-18, 25-18 at the UWF Field House. Chelsea Wilhoite led the Argos with 15 kills and hit .323 for the night. Gina Gill had 13 kills for the Wolfpack.In set one, back to back aces by setter Molly Pearce (Tallahassee) put the Argos up 10-6. West Florida later built a 15-9 lead with a kill by Kara Gonzalez (St. Augustine). A Katie Johnson (Tallahassee) kill put the Argos up 24-20 and another Johnson kill gave UWF set one, 25-21. Johnson and Chandler Carney (Indianapolis, Ind.) both had four kills in the set, as the Argos outhit the Wolfpack, .229 to .074.A kill by Wilhoite (Jacksonville) tied set two at 3-3 early. An attack error by Johnson and a bad set by Pearce gave the Wolfpack the 11-7 lead. A Carney kill tied the set, 21-21. A bad set by Abby Timmer (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and a kill by Amanda Oldani put the score at 24-22 and set up set point for Loyola-New Orleans. A kill by Kailey Tuthill gave the Wolfpack set two, 25-23. A kill by Timmer tied set three, 9-9. This was the start of a nine point run by the Argonauts, which included two Johnson kills, an ace by Anna Stoecklein (St. Charles, Mo.) and a kill by Carney. The Wolfpack came within three at 20-17 on an attack error by Argo Jamie Nichols (Crawfordville). A Timmer kill gave UWF set three, 25-18. UWF took an early 8-3 lead in set four on a kill by Timmer. Back to back kills by Johnson and Timmer made the score 12-6, UWF. Back to back kills by Nichols gave UWF the 17-12 lead. Loyola-New Orleans went on a five point run later in the set to make the score 21-18, UWF. A kill by Carney from Pearce gave UWF set four and the match, 25-18. The Argos will be on the road for the next six matches. This coming weekend, UWF will travel to face North Alabama on Friday at 7 p.m. and Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday at 1 p.m. UWF will face Saint Leo on the road on Thursday, October 14 before competing in the Florida Southern Regional Crossover October 15-16. Live audio for all of these matches will be available on GoArgos.com.For information on all UWF Athletics, visit www.GoArgos.com. — www.GoArgos.com –____________________________________________________________________________________                            Short Box Score (Match)                          2010 West Florida Volleyball          Loyola vs #23 West Florida (Oct 05, 2010 at Pensacola, Fla.)  West Florida def. Loyola 25-21,23-25,25-18,25-18  Loyola (14-11, 2-1 SSAC) (Kills-aces-blocks) – Gina Gill 13-1-2;  Kailey Tuthill 9-0-0; Sabrina Stansberry 7-1-2; Lindsay Mullinix  5-0-2; Ashley England 3-0-4; Samantha Worsham 3-0-1; Amanda Oldani  1-1-0; Totals 41-3-7.0. (Assists) – Samantha Worsham 35. (Dig leaders)  – Amanda Oldani 16; Alex Blitzer 10  West Florida (12-4, 3-0 GSC) (Kills-aces-blocks) – Chelsea Wilhoite  15-1-4; Chandler Carney 12-0-0; Katie Johnson 11-0-3; Kara Gonzalez  8-0-4; Abby Timmer 8-0-5; Jamie Nichols 7-0-1; Molly Pierce 0-3-0;  Tricia Tirabassi 0-1-0; Anna Stoecklein 0-1-0; Totals 61-6-9.0.  (Assists) – Tricia Tirabassi 30; Molly Pierce 24. (Dig leaders) –  Katie Johnson 16; Anna Stoecklein 14  Site: Pensacola, Fla. (UWF Field House)  Date: Oct 05, 2010   Attend: 124     Time: 1:31           Referees: David Fewell, Lori DueittPrint Friendly Version UWF Volleyball Defeats Loyola-New Orleans, 3-1 Sharecenter_img UWF volleyball player Chelsea Wilhoite last_img read more

Carter, Atkinson deliver first medals for Caribbean

first_imgGOLD COAST, Australia (CMC) – Trinidadian Dylan Carter captured his first Commonwealth Games medal while Jamaican Alia Atkinson landed her third, as they both secured silver on day two of the 2018 edition of the showpiece here Friday.Competing in the Men’s 50 metres butterfly final at the Optus Aquatic Centre, the 22-year-old Carter finished second behind South African winner Chad Le Clos in a time of 23.67 secs.Le Clos was timed at 23.37 secs for gold while teammate Ryan Coetzee touched the wall in 23.73 secs.Swimming out of lane six, Carter made a great start to the event and held a marginal lead over Le Clos at the half-way stage, with Australian Grant Irvine challenging from third.Le Clos, however, made a late surge over the last 15 metres to touch the wall first, forcing Carter into second.At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Carter finished fifth in the 100m freestyle and was knocked out in the semi-final in the 100m butterfly.Atkinson, meanwhile, was also impressive in her final, touching the wall in 30.76 secs, to follow home Sarah Vasey of England in the Women’s 50m breaststroke final.Vasey was timed at 30.60 while Australian Lelston Pickett took bronze in 30.78.Atkinson in lane four did well to keep up with Vasey who pulled Pickett and Aussie Jessica Hansen with her in the early stages of the contest.The 29-year-old Atkinson appeared to be slightly behind Hansen and Pickett in the last few metres but managed to outstretch them to the wall.Despite clinching silver, Atkinson’s time was slower than the 30.53 posted in the semi-final.The Commonwealth Games record-holder in the event with 30.17, Atkinson claimed silver in the 50m breaststroke and bronze in the 100m breaststroke at the 2014 showpiece.The medals were the first for the Caribbean.last_img read more