Court Employees Rally Against Cuts

Pink slips were sent to 329 of about 5,400 Superior Court employees

The city's financial woes rippled through the court system Wednesday.

More than 100 employees rallied to protest cutbacks as pink slips were sent to 329 of about 5,400 Superior Court employees.

The staff cuts are the first of three announced sets of layoffs and courtroom closures designed to cope with a $79 million budget shortfall.

Most of those fired were court assistants and clerical workers, as well as child advocacy specialists, court reporters and family court services specialists. Three criminal courtrooms and one family courtroom were shuttered.

In announcing the cuts, Presiding Judge Charles "Tim" McCoy warned of delays and longer lines.

"When you cut this deep into the workforce of this court, the system must ultimately wear down," McCoy said.

A total of 16 courtrooms countywide are being closed, with nearly half that number in the downtown civil courthouse, McCoy said.

Even before the layoffs, courts were backlogged, said marcher Alice Alarcon, a court reporter at the Burbank Courthouse.

"Right now it takes two to three years to get a civil case heard," she said. "Now, it could take six years. There must be better ways to make cuts."

The Los Angeles Superior Court is the nation's largest trial court system, with 600 courtrooms in 50 courthouses throughout the county.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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