Welcome to the new reality of working in superior courts in California courtesy of the AOC and the Judicial Council. If you thought things now are bad, oh boy. Just wait till next year. It’s going to be a doozy! At least that’s the theme of a presentation that LA County PJ Charles McCoy has been giving within the county. An article in the LA Times last week details all that LA County Superior Court employees have to look forward to.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Presiding Judge Charles “Tim” McCoy is warning of dire things to come should the state’s budget crunch continue to take a toll on the nation’s largest trial court system.
In recent weeks he has met with attorneys and court officials around the county, telling them the once-a-month closures and furloughs that began in July may be just the tip of the iceberg. Over the next four years, he says, as many as 1,800 jobs may be eliminated and up to 180 courtrooms may have to be permanently shuttered. The court’s capacity may be drastically reduced, tripling or quadrupling the pace of some cases moving through the system.
McCoy has given presentations to about a dozen law firms and several attorneys’ associations. He’s sounded the alarm to the district attorney and public defender. On Tuesday, he met with judges in the downtown civil courthouse to describe the bleak outlook.
What is Judge McCoy’s solution? Going after AOC funds for building courthouses. He argues that although he understands and supports building new courthouses and upgrading old ones, he believes those projects need to be sidelined to fund the more immediate needs of courts preventing the disaster that he foresees for his county.
Of course no article about potential financial disasters facing California courts is complete without the AOC sending out its salesperson spokesperson to counter any plan that deviates from the AOC’s master plan.
Many court officials around California are opposed because they believe their facilities are in absolute need of repair or replacement, said William C. Vickrey, administrative director of the California courts.
Vickrey said that though all options are on the table, “that is, in my opinion, not the first proposal we ought to be making.”
Vickrey noted that a majority of courthouses throughout the state have severe security problems, safety issues and seismic risk problems.
McCoy said that although he recognizes the need, he was being backed into a corner and given a “Hobson’s choice.”
If things get as bad as Judge McCoy thinks they’re going to get, especially if the AOC continues to drive the ship over the falls, expect things to get worse than the end of the world movie that people have been paying to see on movie screens.