The incoming president of the Alabama Bar Association says a $27,000 fix to extend Jefferson County court security for 3 more weeks is a way to buy time for a long-term solution.
“Well-intended people are working on extending those 3 weeks,” Jim Pratt says.
Pratt, who moves into the president’s role in three weeks, says the county budget shortfall threatens a domino-effect across the criminal justice system if not resolved.
“No way to run a court system. It’s triage for one of society’s most important institutions.”
Pratt also takes exception with critics of the county’s effort to raise new revenue. Those critics contend the county has money in reserve to sustain the county’s basic services and staff.
“It’s just not true,” Pratt says, “I’ve looked at the finances. There’s a $75 million reserve… with one sign of the pen, that 75 million could go away.”
The “one sign of the pen” reference refers to a judge overseeing the lawsuit between the county and Wall Street investors in the sewer debt crisis. Wednesday the Birmingham News reported that a court-appointed receiver for the sewer system demanded $75 million from a settlement agreement with JP Morgan Chase.
Also Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported one leading analyst advised investors to “shy away from all Alabama bonds” because the state has not helped remedy the long-running sewer debt crisis.
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