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Budget cuts may lead to courthouse closures in Malibu, Beverly Hills & West Los Angeles

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With budget shortfalls looming, the Los Angeles Superior Court may be forced to close 10 courthouses across the county, including such high profile venues as Malibu, Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles next year.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Lee Smalley Edmon released a preliminary proposal for court reductions Wednesday but told The Associated Press the plan could change before taking effect in July 2013.

She says courts are still absorbing $70 million in cuts made earlier in the year which led to closed courtrooms, elimination of court reporters in civil courts and staff layoffs.

A $56 to $85 million deficit is anticipated.

Edmon says proposed courthouse closures will mark the end of the neighborhood court system and many will face transportation challenges to get to distant courthouses that will pick up the slack.

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