Sign of the Times: San Francisco Court System "Essentially Out of Business" → Washingtons Blog
Sign of the Times: San Francisco Court System "Essentially Out of Business" - Washingtons Blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sign of the Times: San Francisco Court System "Essentially Out of Business"

ABC news notes:

The presiding judge of San Francisco's court system announced Monday she is preparing to dismantle operations in the civil division of her court and she is warning the layoffs and closures will be drastic.

What is in store is plenty of pain. Pain for the public and pain for court workers, who face unprecedented layoffs. Courtrooms will be closed. Clerk's offices will be shuttered. And the hallways will be quiet.

Presiding judge Katherine Feinstein broke the bad news that 25 of 63 courtrooms will close and 200 employees will be laid off.

"The civil division will essentially be out of business," Feinstein said. "The cases will sit on shelves piled high and will not make it into a courtroom for close to five years. It will for all practical purposes dismantle our court. Paying a traffic ticket for a criminal fine at the Hall of Justice will take hours standing in line. There will be fewer clerks there to process your payment. Obtaining a copy of a criminal or civil court record will take months. Obtaining a divorce will take at least a year and a half.

Feinstein says this was the only option. San Francisco's courts face a deficit of almost $14 million. In recent years, the court dipped into its reserves to prevent layoffs, but its reserves have dried up. Now, their budget will be cut by almost $5 million.

AP reports:

"The civil justice system in San Francisco is collapsing," Feinstein said.


"The future is very, very bleak for our courts" ....

In a press release issued yesterday, the Court said:

“Equal access to justice is one of the fundamental underpinnings of our democracy,” Judge Feinstein said.


We will be a shell of what we once were.


The Court will close:

•12 Civil Trial Departments;

•Two Complex Litigation Departments;

•One Law & Motion/Discovery Department;

•One Case Management Department;

•One Juvenile Dependency Department; and

• One Juvenile Traffic Department;

Metropolitan News-Enterprise points out that other California courts are in the same boat:

Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Lee Edmon said yesterday such drastic measures are not being ruled out locally in the wake of larger-than-anticipated state budget cuts.

“All options are on the table at this point,” Edmon said, adding that the court leadership has not yet decided how to proceed.


Edmon acknowledged “trial courts have been cut to the bone” already, noting the superior court “laid off 500 people not too long ago”....


“This year is bad and next year is worse,” she said" ....


San Diego Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein ... predicted “more staff is going to be laid off in more counties to come”....


  1. Good time to be a criminal. Ha!

  2. This is a really dangerous situation for the court employees and other taxfeeders as people start to figure out just how little the system is needed and that it's basically just free ride for a bunch of useless parasites.

    How about if instead of standing in line for hours to pay a traffic ticket or a "criminal" fine you just throw the notice in the trash?

  3. As astera says, this is the danger for bloated government and all malinvestments made during credit booms!

    Much of this activity begs to be done on line. With an off the shelf system.

    Then again, most of these laws deserve to be rescinded and all laws should have an expiry date.

  4. Awe, so sad. What happen, run out of red meat? Parasites always consume themselves when the host dies. Hey, why not just jack up the fees on gay marriage licenses? That ought to make a bundle. Pelosi got any bright ideas?

  5. Please see how the AOC was busted on bundling, at

  6. Since there's a couple million laws out there, I'm sure we all break several every day without even trying. How about we repudiate most of the laws, along with ALL our debts?

    Where's the RESET button on the entire planet?


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