10 L.A. County courthouses slashed amid budget cuts
Officials on Wednesday announced sweeping cuts in the L.A. County court system, including the closure of courtrooms across the region.
Faced with steep budget cuts, officials said all courtrooms would be closed at 10 courthouses including those in Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Malibu, Huntington Park, Whittier, Pomona North and San Pedro. The courthouses will continue to handle some administrative matters like ticket payments but will no longer hear cases.
Officials said an unspecified number of layoffs will occur. The cuts, they said, will cause delays in some trials and create longer lines.
"It's devastating to the court system, and it's going to be a sea change in how we do our business," said Lee Smalley Edmon, presiding judge of the L.A. County Superior Court. "Unfortunately, there are going to be longer lines in each of our courthouses and great delays throughout the system."
The cuts will be carried out over the next six months. Officials said civil courts will be particularly hard hit, with many civil courtrooms operating without court reporters.
The Los Angeles County courts have already laid off hundreds of employees and left more positions unfilled, resulting in longer lines to file paperwork and cases that plod along at a snail’s pace.
In the last fiscal year, the court system shaved $70 million from its budget in part by freezing wages and forcing staff members to take furlough days.
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Photo: Lindsay Lohan outside Beverly Hills courthouse in 2010. Credit: Reuters