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Minn. lawyers seek to block cuts to justice system

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- With state government facing a $6.2 billion budget shortfall, Minnesota lawyers are campaigning to protect the justice system from further cuts.

The initiative is called 1,000 Supporters. The Minnesota State Bar Association says it's a group of more than 1,000 attorneys working to secure adequate funding for the state's courts, legal aid and public defenders.

In a letter to members this week, association president Terry Votel and Chief Justice Lorie Gildea say Minnesota's justice system is already strained to the breaking point. They say that if the system is cut further, it will begin to break down.

Gildea's predecessor, Eric Magnuson, led efforts to blunt court cuts proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The new chairman of the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee, Warren Limmer, has also said Minnesota's judiciary should be spared.