Court Takes Beatings As State Passes Budget

As statewide media heralds a new state budget that leaves California’s top judicial administrator saying she’s “encouraged,” the Los Angeles County civil court system joins others in living the old t-shirt saying: “The beatings will continue until moral improves.” Last Friday, the Los Angeles Superior Court moved to eliminate 511 more positions and 177 people lost their jobs while139 people were demoted to previously held positions, according to many accounts. An additional 223 people were reassigned to new locations.
General-interest media is focused on other budget cuts, but the legal community is balking at the idea that an absence of deeper cuts is good news. “They’re cutting into the bone, not just the fat,” said Richard Burdge, the president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and owner of The Burdge Law Firm in Los Angeles, in a Legal Newsline report.
The report also notes that the civil court cuts are creating odd political partnerships. The story quotes both Tom Scott, executive director of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, and Brian Kabateck, president of the Consumer Attorneys of California. Says Scott: “We’re closing courts. We’re cutting court systems back. Civil is taking a backseat to criminal. It’s one of the few issues where trial lawyers and groups like mine agree – funding of the courts is a serious problem.

Read the report here.