For 12 years, New York’s judges have toiled without a pay raise. Now, 68 judicial hearing officers are working for free.

When the 2011-12 budget eliminated all but a handful of the 250 judicial hearing officers—retired judges who remain active and take on special assignments to help reduce backlogs—court officials were stunned when 68 immediately offered to maintain their caseloads even without their $300 daily stipend. It remains unclear whether the 2012-13 budget will restore any of that funding.

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