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California courts wrestle with budget cuts old and new

June 19, 2012 |  7:30 am

The budget plan approved by the Legislature on Friday includes hundreds of millions of dollars of cuts to California's courts. If Gov. Jerry Brown signs the budget, trial courts will be forced to rely on their reserves for $300 million that used to come from the state, and a separate $240-million cut will delay 38 construction projects.

The spending cuts would hit a court system already struggling with budget problems. L.A. Times reporters Alexandra Zavis and Ashley Powers recently looked at a unique juvenile court in Los Angeles County that closed this month.

"More than 100,000 kids a year streamed through the program after committing low-level crimes, such as littering, petty vandalism or jaywalking," they wrote. "For many teenagers, the court was their first tangle with the justice system; officials tried to ensure it would be their last."

The county hopes to save $30 million by closing the court and making other cuts.

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