2009 State of Judiciary presentation by Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz

News Release January 9, 2009
For immediate release:

For more information:
Phillip Lemman, Oregon Judicial Department, (503) 986-5745

SALEM, OR … Oregon Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz delivered his State of the Courts speech today, outlining steps the Judicial Branch has taken to make Oregon state courts more efficient, accessible, and productive. De Muniz spoke to the City Club of Salem, to an audience that included Governor Theodore Kulongoski.

De Muniz called on the 75th Oregon Legislative Assembly, which convenes January 12th to carefully consider budget decisions that affect Oregon courts. “Oregon’s courts are the legal equivalent of an emergency room,” De Muniz said. “When the economy goes down, the need for court services goes up.” De Muniz said he wants to avoid budget reductions similar to those in the 2001-03 biennium when the Judicial Department lost one-fourth of its staff resources and reduced services, including closing courts one day a week for four months and not processing many types of civil and misdemeanor cases.

De Muniz outlined the court’s constitutional role to protect people’s rights, preserve community welfare, and ensure that public officials meet their legal responsibilities.

De Muniz said Oregon courts will collect an estimated $287 million in court-imposed financial obligations in the current two-year budget period. Those collections include restitution owed crime victims, pay for services to crime victims and police training, support the State General Fund, and fund local government services.

De Muniz has urged Oregon’s congressional delegation to support collecting court-imposed obligations from federal tax refunds otherwise due to individual taxpayers. “The federal government should be an active partner in collecting court-imposed obligations, not passively return money to people who have not paid their fines and fees,” De Muniz said. If the new Congress grants that authority, Oregon courts could collect an additional $68 million in 2009-11 for government services and victim restitution.

Full text of De Muniz’s remarks: http://www.ojd.state.or.us/courts/supreme/documents/StateofJudiciarySpeech2009.pdf

Video presentation by De Muniz for high speed connection:
http://www.ojd.state.or.us/courts/supreme/documents/StateOfJudiciary2009VideoHi.wmv

Video presentation by De Muniz for low speed connection:
http://www.ojd.state.or.us/courts/supreme/documents/StateOfJudiciary2009VideoLow.wmv