Our system of justice has certainly faced various challenges over the years, but no one can deny that the COVID-19 crisis has forced us to confront unprecedented obstacles―2020 has been a year no one will forget. In March, the entire state court system virtually shut down, except for cases deemed “essential.” While our administrative judges and the office of court administration have worked tirelessly to restore some semblance of normalcy, the challenges are formidable.
On top of trying to balance life and death issues with providing timely and effective justice, our court administrators and the judiciary are facing debilitating budget cuts. As our chief administrative judge has recently acknowledged, “the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has led to enormous pressures on the State budget, including the Judiciary budget,” noting a $300 million hit to the court system. NYLJ Sept. 30, 2020, “As NY State Courts Report Budget Cut, Lawyers Fear Delays, Employee Unions Worry Over Jobs.”