Budget Issues May Affect Courtroom Cases
There are words of warning Monday from Albemarle County's top prosecutor. Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford says because of potential funding issues, some criminal cases may never make it to the courtroom.
Lunsford says Albemarle County supervisors need to make a tough policy decision; a decision that could stop her from prosecuting some criminals. With significant state funding cuts, Lunsford says she is in a bind.
If Albemarle does not pick up the tab, she will have to stop prosecuting misdemeanors altogether. That could include traffic offenses and domestic violence cases.
Lunsford says 96 percent of her budget is taken up by payroll and she would have to eliminate a position.
"If we don't have the people there to prosecute the cases, the cases that we're not mandated to prosecute, misdemeanors, are the first cases we would have to stop prosecuting," she explained.
Lunsford says the decision depends a lot what happens at the state level. Right now her office is proposed to receive flat funding from the county.
Lunsford says she is hopeful she will not have to stop taking some cases into the courtroom.