Struggling to pay court costs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Struggling to pay court costs

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WASHINGTON (KWWL) - In the tight economy, more and more people in dire situations can't get the legal help they need to navigate the court system.  That's leaving many people stuck in desperate, even dangerous, situations.

The Legal Aid Society takes on cases for people who can't afford a lawyer.

The economic downturn is drying up its funding, forcing overloaded legal aid lawyers to turn away more people than ever.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin introduced a bill to get more funding for legal services.

Right now the budget allocates $390 million for legal aid, which he says doesn't meet the increased demands.

President Obama is proposing a $45 million increase for legal services in the next budget -- but Senator Harkin's bill adds eight times that amount to the current funding for legal aid.

Online producer:  Adam Amdor

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