News Story (Florida)
February 22, 2016
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Tags: Access to Justice, Justice for All
Organizations mentioned/involved: Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice (FCATCJ)
The chief justice created the commission by executive order in 2014 in order to combat problems created when people don’t have a way to defend themselves in court. There are currently 38 other states with similar commissions.
Labarga said federal funding for legal aid has declined since 2012 as a result of historically low interest rates and many working class Floridians find themselves stuck in a so-called legal services gap. They earn too much for legal aid but not enough to pay for a lawyer.
“Think about how many of these folks give up precious rights they have simply because they cannot afford a lawyer and just give up,” Labarga said. He said he saw a lot of these problems when he was a judge, especially during the foreclosure crisis.