NEW YORK -- A letter signed by the chief judges of 87 federal courts warns budget cuts threaten the quality of the nation's judiciary system and public safety.
The letter was sent Thursday to Vice President Joe Biden in his role as president of the U.S. Senate. It cites a recent request by the New York public defender's office to postpone the trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law because of staff cutbacks.
But the judges say years of flat funding followed by March sequestration cuts have had a devastating impact on all courts.
They say cuts in probation services have reduced the monitoring of criminal defendants to crisis levels. They say that in turn hinders crime deterrence, detection and response and allows more drugs and illegal weapons into communities.