By Jackelyn SeverinChief Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court is asking lawmakers to spare the South Dakota court system from cuts. Chief Justice David Gilbertson spoke to the legislature in his State of the Judiciary address. Justice Gilbertson says he understands the state is again facing another tough budget year but he says even in challenging times the state must uphold its constitutional mandate to provide every citizen open access to the courts. Gilbertson says last year lawmakers cut the Unified Judicial System’s budget by 400,000 dollars. Gilbertson says the UJS has found ways to economize and do more with less but that only goes so far. Gilbertson says, "We now find ourselves at a point where further major cuts will cripple our ability to provide an effect and functioning judicial system. We have obligations which must be met no matter what the fiscal climate."Gilbertson says he isn’t asking for additional funding only that the UJS be spared from more cuts this year.
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