The court system in South Carolina is so strapped for cash that the circuit judges in at least one county are having a hard time getting their hands on copy paper.
In the past, the Richland County clerk’s office had shared copy paper with the judges, but lately the office hasn’t had a square – or, more accurately, a ream – to spare, said office manager Gloria Montgomery.
She said the office had to cut off the paper supply to the judges, and word on the street is that they now have to buy their own paper much in the same way that teachers are forced to foot the bill for classroom supplies.
Imagine a figure in a black robe wandering through Staples.
“The clerk’s budget doesn’t allow for extras. She’s allotted so much for her supplies and we’ve been running short,” Montgomery said. “The clerk’s budget is not sufficient to supply [paper] to the judges.”
According to Montgomery, the bailiffs have tried to remove copy paper from the clerk’s office, presumably to give to the judges.
“The bailiffs would come and ask me if I have any copy paper that they can take back to make their copies in the hallways or the judges’ offices,” she said. “We have a lot of people who come in here and what she [the clerk] is getting is not enough to supply copy paper to all the judges we have.”
The clerk of court, Jeannette McBride, did not respond to several phone messages. The county’s three resident circuit judges – DeAndrea Benjamin, Robert Hood and Casey Manning – also could not be reached for comment.
While it’s not entirely clear whether the judges are buying their own paper, it’s obvious that they should not be concerned about whether they’ll be able to print their next decision.
They have more important things to worry about.