Judiciary asks for more money amid state budget crunch

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The state’s judicial branch is asking for more funding as New Mexico faces a budget shortfall.

New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles W. Daniels told a committee of legislators that even modest budget cuts could impair the court system’s ability to deliver justice.

Daniels said drug and treatment courts may be impacted if more funding is not approved.

A 4.8 percent increase in the judicial budget has been requested.

A spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez said the funding requests show the judiciary is not taking the state’s budget situation seriously.

The Law Offices of the Public Defender is asking for a 10 percent boost from the current funding level.

Chief Public Defender Ben Baur says the underfunded office may have to start refusing cases.

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