Could court funding battle end up in court?
Starting today, a bevy of new court fees and increases go into effect. (Full story here.) It represents a substantial shift toward a self-sustaining court system funded by those who use it. The debate also re-ignited the raw tensions between state Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, the Senate's criminal justice budget guru, and local elected court officials, including Pinellas Public Defender Bob Dillinger and State Attorney Bernie McCabe.
Court officials suggest the judicial system doesn't receive enough money to achieve its constitutional duties. Crist suggested that some court officials are just pining for a legal battle, where he acknowledges they could find a sympathetic ear. "They are just trying to create a panic that puts this in court," Crist said.
--John Frank, Times staff writer