Faced with historically grim budget cuts, San Diego Superior Court will potentially lay off more than 250 court employees in the next two years.
The court announced a potential $14 million cut from this year’s fiscal budget on Wednesday. In addition to the layoffs, the court may also close more than 40 courtrooms.
The cuts are in response to state budget reductions. The legislature approved a budget plan last week that they hope will balance California’s $15.7 billion budget deficit.
The effects of the court’s cuts may be devastating to the court’s ability to do its job, said Presiding Judge Robert J. Trentacosta.
"The cuts envisioned by our budget reduction plan will affect every judge, court employee and ultimately the litigants, court users and citizens in San Diego County,” Trentacosta said in a statement. “These cuts will significantly reduce or eliminate access to our court system.”
The cuts may be implemented as early as July 1 – about two weeks from now. After that date, the Ramona Branch Court will be closed, business hours will be cut on Fridays and six downtown criminal courtrooms will be eliminated.
The San Diego County Bar Association expressed their concern for the safety and stability of local families and businesses as a result of the cuts.
"Despite the SDCBA’s concerted efforts to warn local legislative officials of the real‐world, tangible impacts of underfunded courts, unfortunately, we are now beginning to experience the first wave of
those dramatic effects," a statement from the association read.