Southern California breaking news and trends

LA County courts dealt 'crippling blow,' laying off 350 employees as part of a $30 million cut

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Los Angeles Superior Court

The Los Angeles County court system is planning to lay off around 350 employees at the end of June, Courthouse News Service reports, as well as restructuring more than 50 courtrooms, which is expected to save $30 million. This comes as a result of deep state funding cuts.

Laying out the reasoning for the cuts, a memo to court staff titled "Los Angeles Superior Court Budget Plan" explains that the budget crisis that began in fiscal year 2008-09 continues "with little improvement," and that California courts have faced permanent budget reductions that total $652 million. Courts face another $125 million "trigger cut" in the coming fiscal year if Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax initiative fails to pass in November.

"The impending layoffs are the next step in the process of achieving this downsizing gradually, rather than catastrophically," Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon and Executive Officer John A. Clarke wrote in the memo. "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."