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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Malibu Courthouse Set to Close Due to Ongoing County Budget Deficit

• 10 Facilities Are Set to Close or Reduce Services

Los Angeles County Superior Court will stop hearing cases in 10 courthouses, including Malibu, and close down a dozen criminal courtrooms in an effort to deal with a deficit that some say could reach $80 million.
Some of the courthouses may stay open for limited functions, such as settlement meetings or court filings, but trials and hearings will be moved elsewhere, according to Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon, who made the announcement last week.
A Malibu attorney who wished to remain nameless said, “We have a lot of court business. I was in court this afternoon. The courtroom was filled with people. People in the Malibu area are going to suffer from having to travel long distances to go to court. I wonder if our city council will do anything to fight the closure.”
Edmon acknowledged that the courts had originally been set up as a neighborhood court system, but that projected budget cuts will not allow that level of service anymore.
Plans also are in the works to limit the number of courthouses that hear specific types of cases.
Small claims cases now heard in 26 courtrooms will be heard in six courtrooms. Courthouses that handle landlord-tenant disputes will be heard not in the current 26 courts, but in just five. There are 24 courthouses that currently hear collections cases, they will drop to two.
The other courthouses planned for closure include Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Huntington Park, Whittier, Pomona North, south Los Angeles, San Pedro (the main courthouse and Beacon Street annex), and Catalina.

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