Nobody likes 'em, but the once-a-month, statewide court closures will continue through June at least, the Judicial Council decided Thursday.
At least three presiding judges pressed for an end to the mandatory closures, arguing that they could afford to keep their local courthouses open while still making the required spending cuts.
But Council members cited a number of reasons to keep the closures going: a desire for uniformity; a continuing bleak fiscal forecast; a projected savings of $63 million; and a nod to legislators who “went out on a limb,” Chief Justice Ronald George said, to OK 10 days of monthly closures last year.
Two Los Angeles County Superior Court Judges, Lee Smalley Edmond and David Wesley, abstained from the vote after suggesting the Council needed more information about the closures and the courts’ budgets. The rest of the Council voted to continue the closures.
The controversial issue of tapping two alternative pools of money –- funds set aside for a new computer network and courthouse construction –- was not discussed on Thursday. But it’s sure to surface again when the Council is forced to decide later this year whether to continue closing courthouses in July and beyond.
— Cheryl Miller