Maryland Legal Aid Executive Director Wilhelm Joseph (left) said that the current economic downturn is increasing the need for civil legal services to the poor and warned that failure to invest in the civil justice system could lead to more criminal disorder. “If any area cries out for for an expansion of justice, it’s public access to justice,” Joseph told The Daily Record in an article published today, “No cuts, conditions for legal service in Maryland.”
The article reports that the while the General Assembly wrapped up its session by cutting nearly $870 million in the FY 2010 budget, funding for the state’s legal services community was spared. The bad news, however, is that due to a drop on interest rates on lawyer trust accounts, projected overall funding for the state’s legal services organizations (including Maryland Legal Aid, the largest) will be down 40 percent.
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