Editorial Boards Continue To Lament Court Cutbacks

The new rationing system for California justice is gaining attention of the mainstream press, and over the past few weeks some of the state’s newspaper editorial boards have taken stands. It’s interesting that the opinions tend to be numbers-filled, a sign that the writers know their readership is not yet up to speed on the issue. You can add a very fine Sacramento Bee editorial, bylined by “the editorial board,” to the list.
Notes the Bee: “According to the [state] chief justice, since January 2010, 22 courthouses have closed across the state, 114 courtrooms have been shuttered, 30 courts have reduced their hours of operations, and more than 2,600 court employees have either been laid off or left and were not replaced… Scores of specialty courts for veterans, the homeless, people with mental illnesses and drug addicts have gone by the wayside.
“The result – access to justice, particularly the civil side of justice, has been dangerously curtailed.
In Sacramento County, for example, more than a quarter of the courthouse workforce, 230 people, has been laid off or left and not been replaced since 2008. Family law litigants seeking to divorce or settle child custody and support matters can wait up to seven hours to file documents… Help that used to be available to assist those litigants, 70 percent of whom come without lawyers, has been slashed to the bone. Help with forms, telephone responses and via email is nearly gone. Twenty-five counter service windows have been closed and the hours reduced for those that are left. Even janitorial services have been cut to the most basic level.”
Read the lament here.