State Revenue and Appropriations
Funding Principles for Judicial Administration
Steps Taken to Address Tough Economic Times
Staffing Levels and Operating Expenses:
Compensation: Over the past four years, salaries of judges and court staff have been frozen; judges’ salaries will continue to be frozen in the coming year.
Efficiency Measures: The Oklahoma courts have enabled law enforcement to issue e-citations. In the coming year, the Oklahoma courts will implement e-filing, an electronic document management system, an enhanced case management system, electronic workflow, and a virtual web-based information center to provide public access to records. They will implement e-payment of fines and fees.
Business Processes: The Oklahoma courts have implemented remote videoconferencing of incarcerated defendants. In the coming year, they plan to implement an enhanced caseflow management program and remote videoconferencing of detained juveniles.
Outsourcing: The Oklahoma courts outsource the collection of fines.
The Oklahoma courts are in a better position than in FY09 to provide access and timely justice. Budget shortfalls have encouraged the Judiciary to take a closer look at the local expenses of the District Courts and to focus on their needs vs. their wants. The Judiciary believes that they have accomplished that goal even though some of the staff reductions that occurred may have placed additional work on others. Their increased emphasis on collections has held more criminal defendants accountable for their judicial debt and forced them to comply with judicial orders.
If and when the budget situation improves, the additional moneys will not be used to restore the cuts that have been made. Most of Oklahoma’s judicial staff (and other support personnel) have not received any salary increases or cost of living benefits since 2006. Many feel that this situation needs to be addressed if and when the Judiciary has sufficient funds to do so. The Oklahoma courts have been doing more with less for several years.
Reports and Articles
Gavel to Gavel