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      Judicial cuts could hurt southern U.P.

      The right to a speedy trial is an important part of the United States Constitution. But that right could be in danger in parts of the U.P.

      The Michigan State Court Administrative Office proposed earlier this month to eliminate 49 judge positions through retirement and attrition, meaning no one would lose their job.

      Two judges in Dickinson, Iron, and Menominee counties would be eliminated dropping the total number of judges in the three counties to five. 108th District Representative Ed McBroom said, like the rest of the state, judges are not immune to cuts.

      "Judges here, and especially in Lansing, have looked at the overall picture for the state and recognized that as the whole state tries to tighten its belt, said McBroom, even in the judicial branch, we need to do some of that as well."

      But local judges are concerned about the future of the courts.

      "My fear is that eliminating two of seven judges will result in the people of this community not having the access to the courts that they deserve, said Judge Mary Barglind in a statement to Upper Michigan TMs Source. We understand that everybody has to share in the sacrifice, but we do not want to see justice compromised.

      McBroom said cuts need to be made, but this might be too big for his district to swallow.

      "I'm very convinced that cutting two judges out of our district is probably not the best thing to do, especially considering the distances that have to be covered," he said.

      McBroom said he's undecided on how he will vote on the proposal. It will be debated by the legislature in Lansing this fall.