• Dozens of L.A. Courtrooms to Close by End of June


    LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Citing millions of dollars in state funding cuts,
    the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court announced today that 56
    courtrooms will be closed by the end of June, and about 100 non-courtroom staff
    members will be laid off.
    Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon also said the court would stop
    providing court reporters for civil trials effective May 15, and will eliminate
    its Informal Juvenile Traffic Court program for minors who commit low-level
    offenses.
    “This year, the state cuts are forcing us to reduce our spending by an
    additional $30 million, on top of the $70 million in reductions we have already
    made,’ Edmon said. “There will be as many as 350 dedicated, skilled court
    workers who will no longer be serving the residents of Los Angeles County. When
    we lose those people, we will no longer be able to shield the core work of the
    court — the courtroom — from the budget crisis.’
    The court plans to close 24 civil, 24 criminal, three family, one
    probate and four juvenile delinquency courts, with their caseloads being spread
    across remaining courts. Affected judges, commissioners or other judicial
    officers will be reassigned to fill vacancies, will share staff with other
    court officers or will handle settlement conferences.
    Court reporters will be eliminated for civil trials, and they will be
    offered on a limited basis for civil law-and-motion matters.
    Edmon noted that 329 people have already been laid off by the court over
    the past two years, and another 229 positions were lost through attrition.
    More than 100 additional non-courtroom staffers are expected to be laid off by
    June 30.
    “It saddens me to have to make these layoffs,’ Edmon said. “These
    actions are affecting people who have made a commitment to public service, to
    justice.’
    The court’s IJTC program, which will also be cut, kept low-level minor
    offenders out of the delinquency system.
    “These courts have allowed us to address tens of thousands of offenses
    in a more appropriate forum than delinquency court,’ according to Assistant
    Presiding Judge David Wesley. “We are losing a crucial element of the juvenile
    justice system to lack of funding.’

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