Justice's wheels slowed as shutdown hits courts

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The government shutdown is slowing the wheels of justice in federal courts.

Civil cases have been delayed, prosecutors are forced to operate with skeleton staffs and there is uncertainty about what will happen in the stalemate continues past Thursday.

That's when federal courts officials expect the reserve funds they have been using since the Oct. 1 start of the shutdown will run out.

Criminal cases are still moving ahead. So are most bankruptcy cases and appeals.

Civil cases and those in immigration court, however, are feeling the greatest impact.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Loretta Preska in New York has put all civil cases on hold except those already in trial.

In Los Angeles, 51 federal prosecutors and nearly 50 staff working civil cases have been sent home.

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