Los Angeles Superior Court begins layoffs

A rally organized by the labor group SEIU Local 721 rallied in downtown Los Angeles in March against the planned L.A. Superior Court layoffs expected in June.
A rally organized by the labor group SEIU Local 721 rallied in downtown Los Angeles in March against the planned L.A. Superior Court layoffs expected in June. Erika Aguilar/KPCC

About 177 Los Angeles Superior Court staff will be laid off by the end of this month and others will receive pay cuts and demotions as part of a budget cutting measures.

The Los Angeles Superior Court announced in March that 511 positions would be eliminated by the end of this month to help shore up an $85 million budget gap before the next fiscal year begins in July.

Over the last five years, the California state legislature has cut the state’s court budget by about $1 billion. That’s led to higher fees for filing documents and other court services.

On Tuesday, state lawmakers announced that after budget deals with Governor Jerry Brown, the proposed budget would include an additional $63 million in funding for courts statewide.

California’s State Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye said it was a good first step in restoring cuts to courts.

"We are encouraged that the Governor and Legislature recognize how years of budget cutbacks have adversely affected the third branch of government and the public it serves,” she said in a statement.

State lawmakers are aiming to meet a June 15 deadline to get the budget to the Governor’s desk. The new fiscal year for California begins July 1. After the budget is adopted, the Judicial Council and Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee will decide how to allocate the funds to trial and appellate courts across the state.

L.A. Superior Court presiding Judge David Wesley said he was glad the restoration of the trial court funding has begun, but that it was too little, too late.

In a May 30th statement in response to pending state budget talks, Wesley said the layoffs at courts and offices would save the court $56 million.

“Even after we complete these actions, we will still have an ongoing structural deficit of $16 million to deal with next year,” Wesley said. “I wish we could cancel the pending layoffs. We cannot.”

A spokesperson for L.A Superior Court said layoffs would be done according to seniority.

There will be no new hires, positions will go unfilled and another 139 people will accept pay cuts or demotions. In some courtrooms and offices, additional judicial officers and staff, currently employed by the court, will be assigned to address the increased caseload.

Court closures in LA County

Eight courthouses will close completely: Huntington Park, Kenyon Juvenile, Malibu, Pomona North, San Pedro Courthouse and its annex, West L.A. and Whittier.

Court work at the Beverley Hills and Catalina Island courthouses will significantly reduced.

If you have a criminal, traffic or citation case in any of the courthouses mentioned above, see the chart below to find out where your case will be held. Court case dates will remain the same but the location where the cases are heard will change.

Whittier Courthouse
  • Felony, misdemeanor, traffic and other citations initiated by Whittier Police will be transferred or filed at Bellflower courthouse effective June 3.
  • Other cases and cities filed by any other agency will be transferred or filed at Downey courthouse, effective June 3.
Alhambra Courthouse
  • Traffic and citation cases will be transferred or filed at the Pasadena courthouse, effective May 13.
Beverly Hills Courthouse
  • Felony and misdemeanor cases initiated by the L.A. Sheriff’s West Hollywood Division will be transferred and filed at the Van Nuys West courthouse effective June 3.
  • All other felony and misdemeanor cases will be transferred or filed at the Airport courthouse effective June 3.
Central Arraignment Courthouse
  • Misdemeanor cases will be transferred or filed at the East Los Angeles courthouse, effective June 3.
  • Traffic and citation cases will be transferred or filed at the Metropolitan courthouse, effective June 3.
Pomona North Courthouse
  • Red light traffic tickets issued in the City of Walnut will be filed at the El Monte courthouse, effective June 3.
  • Traffic tickets and other citations issued by California Highway Patrol will be filed at El Monte courthouse, effective June 3.
  • Felony and misdemeanor cases that are pending will all be transferred to Pomona South courthouse by May 17.
  • No new traffic, felony, misdemeanor or citation cases will be heard or filed at Pomona North, effective June 3. All courtrooms will be closed.
East Los Angeles Courthouse
  • Traffic and citation cases will be transferred or filed at Metropolitan courthouses, effective May 13.
  • Felony and misdemeanor cases will be transferred or filed at the Metropolitan courthouse, effective June 3.
Huntington Park Courthouse
  • Traffic and citation cases will be transferred or filed at the Compton courthouse, effective June 3.
Malibu Courthouse
  • Felony, misdemeanor cases will be transferred or filed to the Van Nuys courthouse, effective June 3.
  • Traffic and citation cases will be transferred or filed at the Santa Monica courthouse, effective June 3.
San Pedro Courthouse
  • Traffic and citation cases will be transferred or filed at the Long Beach courthouse, effective June 3.
West Los Angeles Courthouse
  • Traffic and citation cases will be transferred or filed at the Beverly Hills courthouse, effective June 3.
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