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County courts shut down, employees laid off

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Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 3:30 pm

Due to reductions in state financial support for the California judicial branch, the Los Angeles Superior Court shut down eight courthouses, including the Malibu courthouse, and eliminated 511 budgeted positions. The budget reductions were enacted on Friday, causing the closures and layoffs, according to a release from the L.A. Superior Court. 

In order to manage the court after Friday’s staffing reductions, the court implemented a consolidation plan. As per the plan, the courthouses that have been closed or are scheduled to close are: Malibu, West Los Angeles, San Pedro, Pomona North, Huntington Park, Whittier, Beacon Street and Kenyon Juvenile. 

Other changes included in the consolidation plan include: reduction in court services at the Beverly Hills and Catalina courts; consolidation of personal injury, collections, small claims, probate, unlawful detainer and traffic cases in fewer locations, and the elimination of part-time court reporters in civil courts, among other cuts. 

Due to the reduction, 177 people will be laid off, 139 people will be demoted, and 233 people will keep their jobs but will probably be moved to new locations. Notices to affected employees were delivered on Friday. 

As of July 1, the court will have eliminated 30 percent of its staff since 2002, according to the release from the court. 

“When the Municipal and Superior Courts unified, our vision was to be the largest neighborhood court and to maintain a presence in many communities throughout L.A. County,” Presiding Judge David S. Wesley said in a statement. “This is not the neighborhood court we worked so hard to build. It is not our vision for access to justice. But this is the Court that the state is willing and able to support. We will be using our collective energy as a court to provide access to justice in every case type within the limits of the resources we have been provided.” 

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