Los Angles Court Announces Radical Budget Cuts

The Los Angles Court is among the nationst largest courts. It is far bigger and faces more complex problems than many state court systems. The Court Executive Officer John A. Clarke is among the most experienced court managers anywhere. But strong leadership cannot magically print money. California courts are hurting financially. The most recent announcement paints a very grim picture.

According to a memo issued  by Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon and Court Executive Officer John A. Clarke, the court must make immediate spending reductions totalling $30 million, which will impact more than 350 employees and 50 courtrooms. Included in the coming round of cuts:

  • The layoff of judicial assistants and courtroom assistants in 50 courtrooms.
  • The elimination of 60 court reporter positions.
  • $4.8 million in cuts from the juvenile courts.
  • The layoff of an additional 100 court staff positions not associated with the 50 courtrooms already impacted.

“The budget crisis that began in fiscal year 2008-09 continues with little improvement,” writes Judge Edmon in the memo. ” Since that time, the California courts have been given permanant budget reductions totaling $652 million. Solutions are dwindling while reductions continue and uncertainty looms.”

Though the memo outlines a challenging situation, it does offer a glimmer of hope at the end. “The ultimate impacts of this blow will be determined by our response to it,” writs Judge Edmon. ” That is why, while we are greatly concerned about our future, we do not despair. Our Court has a history of working together in the best interests of justice; that history will serve us well as we all come to grips with the coming changes

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