Dollars in the Court Room, Here Come the Judge


So, here’s a little tidbit that slipped into the state’s budget between the time Governor Chafee submitted and the House Finance Committee unveiled it:

8-15-10. Receipt and use of funds. — There is hereby established in the judicial department a restricted receipt account referred to as “Third Party Grants.” The judicial department shall have the authority to receive and expend monies from gifts, devises, grants, bequests, or donations. The judicial department is authorized to enter into any contracts necessary to obtain and expend those funds.

The legislators took the extra step, too, of placing this unspecified “Third Party Grants” fund on the list of restricted receipt accounts that don’t have to kick back 10% to the general fund.  A quick online search suggests that the state judiciary has, in fact, been able to receive and “expend” grants in the past. So, the first question is: Why?

That question has multiple quick-growing sprouts: Who is going to give the judiciary “gifts” and such?  Are “donations” to the judiciary tax deductible? Will there be any public control over how the judiciary can solicit and spend the resources of this slush fund?  Is it wise to give the judiciary this level of independence from the other branches?  Was any consideration given to the bright beacon that such a fund would create for corruption?

  • MoniqueAR

    > Hello, Judge Comtois.

    > Do I know you?

    > Not yet, Your Honor. Monique Chartier. I'll be defending Justin Katz in that $10 million dollar bullying suit brought by his childhood school mate.

    > Oh, I see. Did you stop me for a reason, Counselor?

    > Yes, Judge Comtois. I wanted to let you know that, upon instruction of my client, our firm has wired $50,000 into the state Judicial gift-and-grab-bag account. Perhaps you'd like to let your clerk know that those funds should be funneled to you.

    > Thank you for the heads-up, Counselor. I will surely do so.

    > See you in court on Monday, Your Honor.

  • $10 million! Surely there's a statute of limitations on bullying.

  • Ishoulda been a judge…

  • MoniqueAR