NH Suspends Jury Trials to Stave Off Layoffs

Savings will prevent courthouse layoffs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2008 9:34 AM CST
This gavel isn't going to move much for a month in New Hampshire.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – As the economy hammers its budget, New Hampshire’s court system is taking the drastic measure of suspending all jury trials for a month, the New York Times reports. The blackout, expected early next year, will save the state roughly $73,000 in $10-per-half-day juror stipends, enough to stave off layoffs. But civil trial lawyers are already grousing that it’s unfair to plaintiffs.

Many plaintiffs are desperate for long-awaited court settlements, said a trial lawyers rep. “What are they going to rely on in the interim?” But the system has already cut $2.7 million from its budget, and the state’s chief justice says the blackout is essential. “Cutting one month of jury trials won’t stop the wheel from turning,” he said. “We would rather do that than lay staff people off.”