D.A. Seth Williams Blasts Nutter Over Budget

Just going to prove that no budget news is good news these days, both the local and federal court systems in Philadelphia are facing problems because of budget cuts.

Yesterday, the Inquirer reported that the federal Public Defender’s Office in Philadelphia is laying off five staffers and ordering everybody else to take 10 unpaid furlough days by October. That’s … a  lot of furlough days. It’s all due to $85 billion in “sequestration” cutbacks at the federal level, since President Obama and the GOP haven’t found agreement on an actual federal budget. Thanks to that, automatic across-the-board cuts took place.

As the Inky observed: “Fewer lawyers working fewer days could mean delays in prosecutions and trials. Probation officers might have to scale back their caseloads to focus only on the most serious offenders. Furloughs for U.S. marshals could lead to changes in courthouse security plans.”

It’s not just a federal problem. Today, the Inquirer reports that D.A. Seth Williams is blasting Mayor Michael Nutter for “flatlining” his department’s budget. The mayor has proposed a $31.6 million budge; Smith says he needs more than $4 million beyond thtat merely to keep up with inflation of the last four years.

“The truth is,” Williams said, “that the mayor’s budgetary proposal undermines our battles against crime.” Mayor Nutter’s spokesman denies the charge. Mark “McDonald acknowledged that the mayor was proposing a budget for the District Attorney’s Office that was essentially unchanged from 2008. But, he noted, the district attorney’s budget was cut below $29 million during the recession and the mayor has been working to restore it.”