CBS Evening News for Thursday, Jun 02, 1977
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(Studio) Alabama's court system's pay-as-you-go plan is in trouble.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite
(Montgomery, Alabama) Alabama court system has been 1 of most innovative in reform, but new law has required courts to get own operating costs from fines and assessments. Cts. now in deep trouble. Alabama Bar Association head, in Birmingham, says result is chaos. [MAN - notes effect of lack of funds on jury trials.] [State senate Joe FINE - calls it cash register justice.] Judges and employees have agreed to stay on jobs temporarily. Alabama supreme court chief justice sees only one solution. [Justice C.C. TORBERT - says legislature session will have to mend error of making courts pay for selves.] State is in bad financial shape; elections are this summer, and pols. make issue of this because they don't want to raise taxes in last 3 days of session. [FINE - doesn't see solution before legislature adjourns; part of problem is House, controlled by governor, has refused to act.] [Governor George WALLACE - has been busy with utility package; notes It. governor has left town.] Officials say privately courts will stay closed till murder suspects from highly publicized cases are freed.
REPORTER: Bruce Hall