Pundits have been gaging my opinion as to what impact, if any, sequestration due to take effect by weeks end will have on criminal investigations and traffic enforcement within the state of Indiana.
For those not fully up to date on the latest political wranglings in Washington, D.C., the term “sequestration” labels for some the doomsday scenario by which across the board mandatory federal spending cuts will be implemented to all federal agencies. These indiscriminate cuts will take place absent an agreement worked out between Democrats and Republicans as to what steps to take to reduce the mounting federal debt.
While no one can be sure of the ecomonic impact the slash in federal spending may bring, what is known is that thousands of those employed by federal governmental agencies are subject to income loss. Military expenditures, postal transmissions, and any and all other entities in any way dependent upon continued federal funding are at risk for reductions in expected revenue.
The American legal system and law enforcement community will not be spared should sequestration hit. Again, to what impact at this time is hard to say. To be sure the federal judiciary affecting any and all federal civil and criminal case proceedings will likely experience a significant slowdown in the processing of court caseloads.
Federal law enforcement through agencies such as the FBI and their legal counterparts for prosecuting cases within US Attorneys offices nationwide can easily be expected to see inefficiencies in the furtherence of prosecutions and federal investigations as resources are scaled back.
On the state level my own personal opinion is that states more dependent upon federal funding and harboring military bases and/or private industries servicing the needs of federal contracts will more likely be effected by sequestration in financial terms.
As all states are subject to the jurisdiction of federal criminal and civil law, the administration of justice on an individual state level within federal court systems within each state will most likely be impacted. However, it is the federal judiciary and law enforcement community dependent upon national resources that is far more likely to exhibit an appreciable slowdown in legal enforcement over state legal systems.
Thus, as one travels throughout individual states such as Indiana, the impact of federal sequestration cuts on state and county traffic and law enforcement may prove illusory. However, should national budget cuts drag on the ancillary impact upon individuals ability to bear the burden of court ordered financial costs and other required services could one day reach critical mass.
I suspect in regard to national focus on state crimes, sequestration and its required curtailment in disposable funding will likely prevent production and/or distribution of yet another television or radio commercial against drunk driving or wearing a seatbelt from one federal agency or another. However, as a dui lawyer I would forecast that our nation would need to endure several months of sequestration cuts before an appreciable negative impact slowing state traffic & criminal enforcement would become pronounced on a local level throughout the respective counties of Indiana.