Great New Courthouse Threatened By Budget Woes

Up in Porterville, a San Joaquin Valley community of about 60,000, they have one of those great new courthouses that escaped state judicial budget cuts. It sounds great, described as a “… sparkling new 96,500 square-foot courthouse” with nine courtrooms, holding cells for 85 inmates, solar panels, natural lighting and drought-resistant landscaping. The $93-million facility replaced a much smaller courthouse that had only two courtrooms, making it an important addition to a town experiencing a population boom.”
Tulare County, Porterville Courthouse (photo:

Tulare County, Porterville Courthouse (photo:

One problem though. Local press is quoting the presiding judge saying that budget cuts actually threaten operation of the new facility.  “We are short-handed everywhere you look. We have cut and cut some more,” the presiding judge, Lloyd Hicks, told the local Visalia Times-Delta newspaper. “If we are [to] cut another $2 million, we would be faced with closing the new courthouse.”
The story is being reported in a Minneapolis-based news website, the The MintNews. In a story by Matt Heller, a California correspondent, the MintNews takes a good look at the statewide crisis and reports on specific problems, like “… waiting time for mediation in child custody disputes has risen in at least 19 counties, with parents in Stanislaus County having to wait up to 17 weeks, the report said. Some counties have eliminated hearings in small claims disputes and 11 counties told the committee they are no longer able to process domestic violence restraining orders the same day they are filed.”
Read the story here.