By: Walter J. Liszka, Esq.
Effective May 1, 2013, all United States District Courts throughout the United States are invoking a 15% increase in filing fees for cases. This will take the filing fee from $350 to $400, for all new civil cases.
Based on information available to the author, this "increase in filing fee" has a direct correlation to the sequestration impact on the Federal Court System. Under sequestration, the budget of the Federal Court System throughout the United States has been cut by approximately $550 million. A number of the District Courts have imposed unpaid furloughs on staff; in two (2) Court locations, Judges have been required to cut staff positions; and, in some instances, Courts have even gone as far as closing the Court House for one (1) day per week.
Court officials in both New York City and Chicago have indicated that sequestration may affect a reduction in staff that would impair the supervision of suspects and criminals who are appearing in the Court on a day-to-day basis as well as slowing the pace of civil trials. While the impact is unknown at this time, this Court upheaval could affect the rights of criminal defendants to a speedy trial.
Obviously, based on recent developments, the movement of travelers throughout the country via airlines is more important to President Obama and Congress than the Federal Court System. Only time will tell what the "Washington geniuses" will do with the sequestration crisis and its impact on the Federal Court System.