Los Angeles, CA May 20, 2009
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L.A. County courts to close 1 day a month
The closures and worker furloughs, to start in July, are prompted by a projected $90-million shortfall caused by the state's budget crisis, officials say.
Los Angeles Times
By Victoria Kim
May 20, 2009
Los Angeles County Superior Court officials
announced Tuesday they would shut down court operations one day a month and
furlough employees to address a projected $90-million shortfall caused by the
state's continuing budget crisis.
The county's 600 courtrooms and all court services including traffic matters will be closed the third Wednesday of each month, starting July 15, saving about $18 million annually, court officials said. Chief Justice Ronald George of the California Supreme Court is considering taking the monthly closures statewide, officials said.
If the financial situation does not improve,
the courts could eventually lay off as many as 1,300 employees, or a quarter of
the workforce, in the next four years, said Charles "Tim" McCoy, presiding judge
of the county's court system. Such cuts would lead to total closure of some
courthouses and massive cuts in court services, he said.
"The justice system provides public safety. That system needs to be operating five days a week," McCoy said at a news conference. The monthly closure plan, he said, "puts the public at some risk."
McCoy said a handful of courtrooms would remain open on the furlough days to handle emergency matters. He said he anticipated a backlog of cases to build up as a result of the closures.
The anticipated deficit stems from cuts in state funding for the 2009-10 fiscal year. In the budget enacted in February, trial courts statewide took more than $200 million in cuts, said Donna Hershkowitz, assistant director of the Administrative Office of the Courts' lobbying office. The cuts have forced courts statewide to tighten their belts by imposing hiring freezes, leaving vacant positions unfilled and reducing counter hours, she said.
"We're at a point now, with this magnitude of cuts and shortfall, that there is no way to absorb this without affecting the public," she said.
In 2002, during the state's last fiscal crisis, the L.A. County Superior Court closed 29 courtrooms and three jail lockups and laid off more than 150 employees. This year's anticipated deficit is nearly double the shortfall the courts faced at the time, officials said.
Attorney Gary Zerman's comment:
Attached is a 5/20/09 LA Times article "L.A. County Courts to Close 1 Day a Month" by Victoria Kim - which is great example of JOURNALISTIC FRAUD - as the article does not mention:
1. Sturgeon v. LA County (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 630 - which ruled that LA County's payment of "double benefits" to its superior court judges (since 1988, and continuing after 1998 when all county judges became state employees and thus the state took over the obligation to pay the judges salary & benefits) was UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
2. SBX211 - a stealth bill in Feb. 2009 sponsored by the LA County judges and the California Judicial Council, to overturn Sturgeon, that allowed the "double benefits" payments to continue and gave retroactive immunity those who authorized the double payments and those judges who received them. An almost unanimous legislature passed SBX211 and before you could blink the governor signed the bill - making it law! This occurred while the legislature was in an emergency session because the state budget was months behind & BILLION$ in debt. SBX211 may be unconstitutional for several reasons, including violation of Art. IV, section 17 of the Cal. Const. and that it was passed during a "special session" to pass the budget, which prohibits the legislature from bringing up and considering new/other matters.
3. That attorney Richard I. Fine (who was the first attorney to challenge the "double benefits" payments from LA County to the LA County superior court judges, as being illegal and presenting a conflict of interest - particularly when judge David P. Yaffe was getting those double benefits and was handling Fine's case where LA County was a party (Marina Strand colony, II v. LA Count, et. al.) and Yaffe was repeatedly told of the conflict by Fine, especially when Fine told Yaffe on 3/4/09 of Sturgeon, which Yaffe ignored and sent Fine to jail on contempt charges) is rotting away in LA County JAIL for now over 70 days. While LA County JAIL claims it has to release known hardened criminals saying it has no jail space or money. Fine has pointed out that the tentacles of those double benefits payments run to former LA County superior court judges now sitting on California Courts of Appeal, the California Supreme Court and the federal courts. Thus any petition for relief Fine files, has the tentacles of these judges wrapped around it.
How could Victoria Kim be so derelict in her duty to report the news and omit such relevant facts? This is either FRAUD or Ms. Kim is unconscious.
I called Ms. Kim and she told me that the county and state budgets were different, separate funds, and thus she made the determination that the above items were not relevant to her story here. When I informed Ms. Kim repeatedly - whether it is city, county, state or federal budgets/revenues - the money comes from the taxpayers - she did not seem to understand my point. Nor did she seem to understand my point when I told her that each of those entities are broke and running ever expanding deficits. GLZ.
Ron Branson's Comment:
Since the judges have forced the closing of the courts one day a month because they lobbied for, and got to keep their unconstitutional retroactive $46,000-a-year bonuses, and are now the highest paid judges in the nation, I make the following proposal. Why don't we just go ahead and give the all the rest of the revenue that runs our courts to the judges as a super-bonus and close down the courts entirely. In this method our judges could retire much richer with an earlier retirement, and we the People can get on with rebuilding our lives and our nation by settling our differences in the streets without the interference of lawyers, corrupt judges and judicial immunity. Maybe I should take my idea to the California ballot for a vote.
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