Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald today outlined challenges facing the state judiciary, including more than 13 percent in budget cuts the past two years and two-day per month furloughs for judiciary employees.
“These reductions in our resources have had substantial negative effects throughout the judicial system,” he told state legislators in his first “state of the judiciary” address.
He said the time to process uncontested divorces has doubled, 24 adult probation positions were eliminated on Oahu and the median age of pending civil cases in circuit court has increased by more than 40 percent.
The chief justice told lawmakers that the judiciary will seek funds to eliminate furloughs and get employees back to work full-time starting July 1.
He also stressed the need for money for land and design for a courthouse in Kona on the Big Island. Currently, the court is spread over three different facilities, including the old Kona Hospital where the law library is housed in the former morgue, he said.
Recktenwald said “positive news” includes the opening of the Ronald T. Y. Moon Judiciary Complex in Kapolei and the highly-praised HOPE probation program.
Recktenwald was appointed by former Gov. Linda Lingle last year and is head of the state’s five-member Hawaii Supreme Court and the third branch of government.