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Budget cuts: L.A. County court system to lay off 350 employees

Los Angeles Superior Court budget plan The Los Angeles County Superior Court system is expected to lay off about 350 employees in June and "restructure" more than 50 courtrooms because of deep cuts in funding by the state, according to a memo obtained Tuesday by The Times.

The latest reductions come after the court has already reduced staff by 500 -- or about 10% -- due to layoffs and attrition over the last two years.

"These changes will affect every judicial officer and staff member -- as well as the millions of attorneys and litigants who depend upon our courts to deliver justice," Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon and Executive Officer John A. Clarke wrote in the four-page memo. "Nonetheless, there is no escaping the fact that this next round of cuts will be the most significant event to happen in our court .... Never before has a budget crisis dealt so crippling a blow to our court."

While exact details of the austerity plan have yet to be worked out, the court contraction will include $30 million in staffing-related cuts as part of $48 million in overall spending reductions.

Savings will be wrung from several areas. Some $6.8 million in savings would result after layoffs to 50 judicial assistants and 20 courtroom assistants. Another $10.2 million would come from elimination of more than 60 court reporter posts and conversion of a similar number of full-time positions to part time.

"Court-employed court reporters would no longer be available for civil trials; They would be available for civil law-and-motion calendars on a part-time basis, and they would be available in family law courts," according to the memo."

Plans call for $4.8 in cuts to courtrooms in juvenile courts and $8.2 million in reductions to "non-courtroom staff" amounting to 100 positions across the court system.

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-- Andrew Blankstein (Twitter.com/anblanx)

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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