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Georgia judicial branch is hopeful about budget

ATLANTA (AP) -- Officials with Georgia's judicial system say they are hopeful that this year's legislative session will bring a modest funding increase.

Rising tax revenue and support from Gov. Nathan Deal, an attorney whose son is a judge, has buoyed the judiciary's hopes that the budget cuts that forced layoffs and furloughs in the last several years are a thing of the past.

Deal's budget proposal for 2013 would give prosecutors a nearly $3 million boost and allow the Georgia Supreme Court to hire a dedicated clerk for death penalty cases.

Other programs would also get a modest increase. But the biggest wallop would be a $10 million grant to fund one of Deal's pet projects: A system of accountability courts that would provide an alternative way to treat some low-level offenders.