Guam – The Judiciary of Guam went before the Legislature today for their budget hearing, asking for $1.7 million more in their Fiscal 2019 budget request.
Before making their request to go from $34.7 million to $36.4 million, Administrator of the Courts John Lizama highlighted the many shortages facing their agency today.
Lizama says they began making cuts to their budget in January but made even deeper cuts in March during the GovGuam fiscal crisis. With their biweekly allotments shorter than anticipated, Lizama says they’re projecting a shortfall of $4.6 million overall in their current budget.
Any further reduction, he says, would “call for extreme measures to be taken.” Lizama notes that the Judiciary is doing more with less as their caseload continues to rise.
With that, Lizama and Chief Justice Katherine Maraman pleaded with lawmakers to approve a request to hire an eighth judge.
“In 2017, the Superior Court received 14,414 case filings and we did see a significant increase in the number of civil case fillings,” said Lizama. “As we presented last year, the ratio of judges to cases and the ratio of judges to Guam’s population supports the need of an additional judge.”
He added: “Our probation case load is currently 7,079; an average case load of 161 clients per probation officer. Although the national average is 120 low risk clients per officer, our probation officers currently supervise both low, medium and high risk clients.”
Despite the shortfalls in their budget, Lizama emphasizes that they have implemented many programs that have helped to reduce recidivism rates.
426 however, what the judiciary is actually seeing is a reduction of more than 13 percent and this is based on our biweekly allotment releases 435 projecting for the releases for the remainder of the fiscal year the judiciary’s shortfall will be $4.6 million dollars 442 if so we would need to further reduce our operations by $1.3 million 449 over the next several months 452
began implementing cost saving measures in January and went even further in march because of fiscal shortfall
500 however any further reduction to our biweekly allotments will call for extreme measures to be taken 506
604 in 2017 the superior court received 14,414 case filings 611 and we did see a significant increase in the number of civil case fillings 616
925 as we presented last year the ratio of judges to cases and the ratio of judges to Guam’s population supports the need of an additional judge 934
from 7 to 8
957 another priority of the judiciary is in our efforts in probation 1001 our probation case load is currently 7079 an average case load of 161 clients per probation officer 1010 although the national average is 120 low risk clients per officer, our probation officers currently supervise both low, medium and high risk clients 1024
that’s still with a reduced caseload
3330 the return on investment in Guam’s court system is significant. 3335 We have highlighted those benefits to our entire community over the past hour. 3343 We have done more with less over the past two fiscal years. 3348 We have been responsible with all the monies you appropriated to us. I can tell you that we are good stewards of the cash we have received. 3358