PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Federal courts are expected to run out of money by week's end in Maine, but trials, hearings and new cases will proceed during the partial federal government shutdown, a judge said.
Chief Judge John Levy said steps have been taken to reduce costs but that money is projected to run out on Friday. Court officials are sorting out which workers are performing essential tasks related to the administration of justice and which will be furloughed, he wrote.
Judicial proceedings at federal courthouses in Bangor and Portland will continue under the Anti-Deficiency Act, a federal law that governs operations in the event of a funding lapse.
"The U.S. District Court for the District of Maine will continue to process new and pending criminal, civil and bankruptcy cases after Jan. 18th, even if a lapse in funds has taken hold," Levy wrote Friday.
Across the country, each of the 94 federal districts is being given leeway to deal with the shutdown. Several jurisdictions have delayed some civil cases.
In Maine, funding for federal public defenders was suspended on Christmas Eve, and cost-cutting efforts included postponing training and travel, delaying promotions and hiring, and suspending functions not directly related to the administration of justice, Levy wrote.
Levy thanked government attorneys and public defenders for continuing their service even though some have not been paid since the start of the shutdown.
"The employees of the District of Maine have worked hard to keep our courts operating during this period of uncertainty. They are, without exception, committed public servants without whom the administration of justice would not be possible," he wrote.