Chief Justice Mark Martin Delivers State of the Judiciary Address to General Assembly
News imageChief Justice Mark Martin delivered the State of the Judiciary address before the N.C. General Assembly on Wednesday, March 4, at the Legislative Building in Raleigh. The address was in response to an invitation by a joint resolution of the General Assembly. Themed, "Justice for All," it was the first State of the Judiciary address since 2001.

"It is my distinct privilege to renew the tradition of reporting to you on the state of the Judicial Branch of government," said Chief Justice Martin. "I look forward to partnering with this General Assembly to ensure that our justice system has the resources to ensure justice for all."

Chief Justice Martin's remarks focused on collaborative efforts of the judicial system's various stakeholders statewide to ensure the timely administration of justice in our state's courts. The Judicial Branch has undertaken efforts to re-engineer operations, cut costs, and use technology to capture efficiencies. The Judicial Branch's operations budget is under tremendous stress, and vacant positions have been held open to cover shortfalls for basic functions. Underfunded areas include payments to jurors, court reporters, and expert witnesses. Chief Justice Martin requested that funds be appropriated to the Judicial Branch to sustain operations.

"If we are to right the ship, the Judicial Branch will need sufficient investment from this General Assembly to ensure that we adequately fund the basic operations of the court system," said Chief Justice Martin. "If we cannot pay for these basic services, we cannot conduct timely trials. We all know that justice delayed is justice denied."

Chief Justice Martin also asked for appropriated funds to provide modest pay increases for Judicial Branch personnel and to move forward with technology innovation in the area of e-filing. The funding-related problems facing the justice system have been decades in the making. Appropriations to the Judicial Branch for the past 25 years have not exceeded 3% of the overall state budget. During the recession, the Judicial Branch sustained $80.6 million in budget cuts.

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About Chief Justice Mark Martin
Chief Justice Martin is the 28th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. He was elected to an eight-year term starting January 1, and has served the Supreme Court since being elected in 1998. He has authored more than 400 appellate decisions during his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. He is the only sitting judge in North Carolina who has served on the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Superior Court. Chief Justice Martin is dedicated to strengthening and advancing the Rule of Law. He recently completed a one-year term as chair of the American Bar Association Judicial Division, comprised of more than 4,000 state and federal judges and lawyers. Chief Justice Martin earned his juris doctor (J.D.) from the University of North Carolina School of Law, after receiving his undergraduate degree from Western Carolina University. He also has a master of laws degree (LL.M.) in Judicial Process from the University of Virginia. Read more.

About N.C. Judicial Branch
The Judicial Branch is an equal and distinctively separate branch and core function of government. More than 6,000 Judicial Branch employees statewide administer justice in courthouses in North Carolina's 100 counties. The Judicial Branch budget is $464M, of which 93% is used to pay salaries and benefits. The remaining 7% is used for operations and has sustained significant cuts to help with the State's budget shortfalls. The Judicial Branch receives only 2.20% of the overall State budget. More than 54% of the Judicial Branch's appropriated budget is equivalent to revenues collected by the courts through imposed fines and fees that are deposited in the State General Fund.

About N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts
The N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) is the administrative agency for the N.C. Judicial Branch, providing administrative services to help the North Carolina court system operate more efficiently and effectively, taking into account each courthouse's diverse needs, caseloads, and available resources.
Publish Date: 03/04/2015