Faced with a looming deficit of $55 million to $85 million, Los Angeles County court system officials announced Wednesday that all courtrooms in 10 community courthouses will be closed, including two branches in San Pedro and another on Catalina Island.
The courtroom closures on June 30, 2013, will prompt an unknown number of layoffs involving court clerks, court reporters and other staff. No judges will be affected because under state law they cannot be laid off, court spokeswoman Mary Hearn said.
The courthouses affected include the San Pedro branches on Seventh Street and on Beacon Street, as well branches in Avalon, Beverly Hills, Huntington Park, Pomona, Whittier, Malibu and the David Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center in Los Angeles.
The closures take in an array of court activity ranging from criminal and civil cases, probate, small claims, juvenile justice and landlord-tenant disputes. Although some administrative work might still be offered in the buildings - including accepting traffic payments - cases would be moved to other open courthouses, Hearn said.
"Business at those courthouses will likely be very different than what they do today," she said.
Hearn said the closures are necessary because of the state budget crunch. Court officials have been using reserves to cover expenses for a few years.
"We are using the last of our reserves," she said.
The closures will follow the June 30 closures of 56 courtrooms countywide and layoffs of 350 workers to close a $30million deficit this fiscal year.
The closures affected O.J. Simpson Judge Lance Ito, whose courtroom was shuttered. He was reassigned to oversee cases where no judge was available.
Court reporters were removed from civil cases, 68 were laid off and another 50 were moved to part-time duty.
The cuts were a part of $652million in budget reductions ordered throughout the state's judicial system.
At the time, officials warned that another $125 million in cuts loomed if Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative failed on the November ballot. However, that measure - Proposition 30 - passed on Nov. 6.
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Beverly Hills Courthouse,
9355 Burton Way
215 Summer Ave., Avalon
David Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center, 7625 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles
Huntington Park Courthouse,
6548 Miles Ave.
23525 Civic Center Way
Pomona Courthouse North,
350 West Mission Blvd.
San Pedro Courthouse,
505 S. Centre St.
San Pedro Annex, 638 S. Beacon St.
7339 S. Painter Ave.
CORRECTION: When the story first posted, it said the Pomona Courthouse South was on the closure list. That is not the case. Pomona South will remain open.