Effective next month, the San Diego Superior Court will no longer provide official court reporters in family law matters for domestic violence restraining order hearings or “request for order” hearings of 40 minutes or less, court officials announced Thursday.
The court is also eliminating more than 60 positions to meet its budget, including upper management and Court Commissioners.
“Our state funding does not cover what it takes to run the second largest court in California,” said Executive Officer Michael Roddy. “With no new money in the state budget for court operations, reductions in current funding associated with continued implementation of the statewide judicial branch funding methodology and increases in labor costs, we are facing a $6 million deficit.”
The budget cuts will result in the removal and consolidation of services over the next few months, including:
— Juvenile Dependency courtrooms and operations in South and Downtown Central will be closed and cases will be transferred to other courts;
— one Juvenile Delinquency department in Kearny Mesa will be closed; and
— all Small Claims and Unlawful Detainer operations and courtrooms in North County will be closed and active cases will be transferred downtown.
“The judges of the San Diego Superior Court do not want to make these service reductions,” said Presiding Judge Jeffrey Barton. “Unfortunately, we have no choice.
These changes impact some of the most vulnerable people we serve, including families in crisis, small claims litigants and tenants and landlords,” the judge said. “In previous budget cuts, we have tried to keep cuts from affecting families and children. Now, with continuing reductions in our budget we have nowhere else to reduce. Our budget is over $30 million lower than it was nine years ago in 2008 despite increasing costs in all areas of operation.”
Since 2012, the San Diego Superior Court has faced more than $30 million in cuts and has reduced its workforce by nearly 20 percent, officials said. The reductions come at a time when the court is preparing to move into a newly built 22-story facility downtown. The new Central Courthouse will consolidate three courthouses housing criminal, family and probate operations and courtrooms.
—City News Service
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