On November 14, 2012, the L.A. Times reported Los Angeles County court officials’ plans to close all courtrooms in 10 regional courthouses in Los Angeles County over the next eight months. Officials defended the decision as being the only way to offset a budget shortfall of $50 million to $80 million in the court system’s budget.
The regional courthouses targeted for closure include Beverly Hills, West L.A., Malibu, Avalon, Huntington Park, Whittier, Pomona and San Pedro. In conjunction with the courtroom closures, numerous layoffs of county employees are expected.
The economic fallout of the planned closures will have an even broader impact. The closure of some courtrooms will necessarily cause greater congestion in the remaining courts. Resolution of many cases will be delayed as trial dates are extended — even cases which eventually settle are often settled on the eve of trial.
Non-traffic cases will be reassigned to courts anywhere from 7 to 35 miles away, leading to longer commutes for jurors, witnesses, litigants, law enforcement officials, and some county employees.
As part of the county’s broader plan to reduce overhead expenses in the court system, officials plan to create “trial hubs” to handle certain types of cases such as small claims, landlord-tenant disputes, collections and personal injury.
We are watching closely to assess the impact and to minimize delays for our clients.
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