Judges: Budget cuts could close courtroomsSan Mateo County Superior Court judges have announced a plan to close up to six courtrooms, and suspend court services in the north county and consolidate them in Redwood City, if the state does not restore funding by July 2013 after "unprecedented" budget cuts to the Superior Court budget.
Trial court budgets across the state have been cut more than $1 billion over five years, Superior Court Presiding Judge Beth Labson Freeman said.
Reductions in force, mostly through attrition, have already reduced the San Mateo County Superior Court workforce by 30 percent, the judge said. Management has consolidated traffic and small claims courts and cut the court clerk's availability to the public, she said.
"Trial Courts should not be dismantled, justice should not be rationed and communities should not be denied a rational, accessible and credible means to resolve disputes," she said.
The judges are going public with these warnings "well in advance so that the court can work with its justice partners and community leaders to restore funding and minimize these actions, if at all possible," the statement said.