Sen. Crist fires back at judges
Sen. Victor Crist, the Tampa Republican who oversees state spending for courts and criminal justice, is firing back at circuit judges who have complained about the impact of budget cuts and have threatened to close their courtrooms to save money. At a public hearing Thursday, Crist delivered a lengthy speech that accused judges of engaging in "spin" to protect their own hides.
"There's a lot of rhetoric flying around," Crist said. If the state finds out that courts ignored an order to hold back 1 percent of their budgets per quarter and instead spent all their money, "that was flagrantly irresponsible," Crist said. His philosophy is to evenly distribute the cuts among all agencies across the criminal justice system, with the state prison as Priority No. 1.