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Los Angeles County courts face layoffs amid plunging budget

June 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
In an effort to cut $30 million from its budget, the Los Angeles Superior Court announced another round of layoffs, a move that will affect hundreds of employees in the nation's largest trial court system.

Judge Lee Smalley Edmon is the presiding judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. She called this day "one of the saddest in the court's history," and said the courts have become a casualty of the state's budget crisis.

"There are going to be delays in the process of virtually every kind of case, because part of the process when we lose all of these employees, we're also going to have to close court rooms," she said.

According to a court news release, 157 employees are being laid off, 108 employees will lose 40 percent of their salaries when they go from five days a week to three, 86 employees will be reclassified to lower paying positions and 80 others are being transferred to new jobs. Across the county, 56 court rooms will be closed.

Employees said they are concerned about colleagues losing jobs, but they say more cuts in the courts, mean more problems for the public.

People who use the courts regularly say they've already experienced delays since the last round of layoffs that started two years ago.

Cher Mason has been a court clerk at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse downtown for more than 15 years. She said there will likely be more budget cuts next year, which will likely mean more layoffs and more delays for everything from divorces to traffic tickets.


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