Rep. Birmingham came out strongly against a bill that would have required anyone requesting a jury trial to pay a $10 fee.
“The man who works for $12 a week on the ERA will be deprived of the right of a jury trial under this bill,” Birmingham said in opposing the measure.
Fellow Brighton representative Martin Hays supported the bill. “We have the most cumbersome, obsolete, almost vicious court system of any of our sister states,” Hays said.
“The delay is extraordinary. When decisions are handed down, they are almost a travesty of justice because of the delay. In England cases are disposed of in six months. In Massachusetts it takes four years,” Hays noted.
“There are so many judges now that they are stumbling over each other. We do not lack judges. The delay is caused by the lack of celerity with which jury trials are secured,” Hays added. He stressed that under the bill a judge would be allowed to waive the fee if a plaintiff or defendant did not have sufficient funds.
Despite Hays’ arguments, the House sided with Birmingham, rejecting the bill by a vote of 141 to 67.