SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Civil cases could be getting more expensive across the state. Budget cuts are forcing many litigants, including in Santa Clara County, to pay for their own court reporters.

California courts have seen their budgets cut $350 million this fiscal year, resulting in many court reporters being laid off.

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David Yamasaki, executive officer for Santa Clara County Superior Courts, said they all have to deal with less funding each year.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

“Since 2008, our branch has sustained over a billion dollars in reductions,” said Yamasaki. “We’re struggling to try to find ways to cope with those types of reductions amidst the mandated responsibilities we have day-to-day.”

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Legal analyst Steven Clark, a former prosecutor, said having to pay for one’s own court reporter creates a two-tiered justice system.

“With the extra costs of now requiring civil litigants to provide their own court reporters, you’ll be denying a lot of people access to our civil and possibly our criminal system,” Clark said. “And that’s troubling and it’s a very slippery slope.”

Court reporter fees generally run more than $700 a day.

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