Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Judges Build "Taj Mahal" in Midst of Budget Crisis

Judges in Tallahassee, Florida have received $48 million in funding to build an extravagant courthouse in the face of Florida's worst financial crisis in decades. The St. Petersburg Times reported that other Florida court budgets have been slashed and courts across the state have laid off staff, quit buying law books and curtailed building maintenance. Programs like drug courts, which have helped thousands of people stay out of trouble, have been limited. Mice run rampant in a Tampa courthouse, while West Palm Beach judges struggle to get courtroom temperatures below 90 degrees because of a malfunctioning air-conditioning system.

Scheduled to be completed in November, "Taj Mahal" is a $48 million behemoth in which each judge will get a 60-inch LCD flat screen television in chambers (trimmed in mahogany), a private bathroom (featuring granite countertops) and a kitchen (complete with microwave and refrigerator), according to the Times.

How did it get funded? According to the Times, like many things that gain life in Tallahassee, the courthouse grew out of a last-minute amendment on the last day of a legislative session. The funding for the courthouse was buried in the middle of a 142-page transportation bill, approved the last day of the 2007 session.

To read full story: http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/article1114049.ece

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