U.S. Attorney Warns Of Prosecutor Furloughs

U.S. Attorney's Office says budget cuts of between 5 percent and 8 percent means prosecutors will likely be furloughed without pay roughly two days per month.

Compared to other parts of the federal government, the U.S. Attorney‘s office for the Southern District of Indiana is small. But the impact of automatic federal budget cuts scheduled to take effect today will be felt far beyond the federal prosecutor‘s two offices in Indianapolis and Evansville.

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett says prosecutors will be furloughed. Hogsett says the budget cut of between 5 percent and 8 percent his office faces will mean that his prosecutors will likely be furloughed without pay roughly two days per month. Hogsett says he does not expect the mandatory off time to begin until April.

While the U.S. Attorney works for the executive branch, separately from the federal courts, the combination of cuts to both branches will slow the prosecution of defendants. Hogsett says it will mean more of a delay in civil cases, since criminal defendants have a constitutional right to a speedy trial that must be upheld. But the prosecutor says the longer the sequestration continues, the more it will slow down the prosecution of all defendants.

Hogsett says spending cuts especially hurt his office, because 90 percent of his day-to-day expenses are in personnel. There‘s little other fat to cut from his budget. He says his staff has worked on a detailed furlough plan for some time in advance of the sequestration deadline.

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