Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Los Angeles Superior Court announces 330 layoffs, shutter courtrooms

LA Superior Court announces 330 layoffs, plans to shutter courtrooms
11:25 a.m. | KPCC Wire Services | KPCC

The presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court announced today the layoffs of 330 employees, along with plans to shutter courtrooms to help cope with a $79 million budget shortfall.

The cutbacks are expected to be the first wave, with more job cuts and courtroom closures anticipated in six months.

Ahead for the public are more courtroom closures, delays and longer lines, Presiding Judge Charles "Tim'' McCoy said.

"When you cut this deep into the workforce of this court, the system must ultimately wear down,'' McCoy said.

A total of 17 courtrooms countywide are being closed, with nearly half that number in the downtown civil courthouse, McCoy said. The layoffs are taking seniority into consideration, as required by union contracts, and could grow to 500 by September, he said.

McCoy urged state lawmakers to temporarily redirect money reserved by the Legislature for new courthouse construction and computer systems to the saving of employee jobs.

"It is a question of priorities,'' McCoy said. "We must keep our existing courthouses and courtrooms open and operating. We hope the folks in Sacramento and San Francisco are listening.''

McCoy said he supported the courthouse and computer improvement efforts – which are being financed by bonds – but that he had to take another look at matters after "the tsunami that has hit us in recent years.''

The judge said the only good news is that courthouse judges and their staff are continuing to strive to be more efficient.

The Superior Court system last summer implemented once-monthly furlough days, shutting the bulk of the court system in an effort to save $18 million a year. Another furlough day is scheduled for Wednesday. But even with those furlough days, the court system is expected to face deficits of more than $130 million in coming years.

The Los Angeles Superior Court is the nation's largest trial court system, with 600 courtrooms in 50 courthouses throughout the county.



  1. It's a shame that our society holds lawyers and the legal profession in such great disdain that our government is unwilling to fund needed courts and public defenders. With the U.S. population growing at a rate of about 3 million people every year, the strain on our already overburdened courts will only continue to worsen.

  2. Couple that with the 3 million people that are currently incarcerated. The US crime problem is a major issue, something that the gov has been able to "sweep aside and hide" by putting violent criminals in jails and prisons. However, with empire america's economy going in the shitter its going to be harder to keep violent people off the streets. Thus, urban americas third world core will be further exposed.

    With criminals and "alleged criminals" not being able to pay to play, this segment of society gets the smallest handout. This is why public defenders get paid so little.

    I dont know if you live near the urban core but my suggestion to you is to get the hell out as fast as you can. Crime is going to explode higher in the next decade.

  3. What's ironic about our society's refusal to properly compensate and provide public defenders is that it actually costs us even more money. Every time we jail an innocent man, it costs us money for incarceration, it leaves the real perpetrator out on the street, unscathed, and it victimizes an innocent person (how do you put a price on that?) Thus, while trying to save money by skimping on the public defender system may be penny wise, it is pound foolish.


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