News Alert!!: More closures for the San Bernardino Superior Court.

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Needles, CA: Superior Court of California has implemented a series of cost reduction measures intended to close an operating shortfall by the end of this fiscal year. A first phase of these operational changes was announced in July 2012 which those actions included the closure of the courthouse in Chino, California.

In a press release obtain from the Superior Court of California County of San Bernardino website, they announce a second phase of cost reduction measures intended to address this financial challenge.

**** The following plan has been vetted through the San Bernardino Superior Court Judicial Executive Committee and will become effective May 6, 2013: ****

– The Barstow, California Courthouse will close, shutting all four courtrooms.

This will result in the loss of 22 positions.

– The Needles, California and Big Bear, California Courthouses will close.

These courthouses had recently been reduced to three days per month, but will now be closed.

– Civil and juvenile delinquency cases and dependency drug court will no longer be heard in the Victorville, California District.

Those cases will be heard in other courthouses to provide room for other cases from Barstow, California that will now be heard in Victorville, California.

– Based upon a review of overall staffing, Juvenile court will reduce staff by four positions overall. Likewise, restructuring of court administration will result in three additional layoffs.

– Court reporters will no longer be assigned to specific departments but will be assigned from a pool as needed.

The court plans to continue to provide court reporters for civil law and motion and trials, to the extent sufficient resources are available.

– Unlawful detainers and small claims currently heard in San Bernardino, California will now be heard in the Fontana, California Courthouse.

Unlawful detainers currently heard in Rancho Cucamonga, California will be heard in the Fontana, California Courthouse.

**** The following changes are also being implemented and will take place prior to May 6, 2013: ****

– The juvenile court will no longer accept direct filings of informal juvenile matters; these filings will be addressed directly through probation.

– Night court services will no longer be provided in the county.

In total, it is planned that these and related actions will result in a reduction of approximately 44 staff, and will save a projected $5.3 million per year.

The severe funding cuts made to our budget result in the need to take these painful steps. We are cognizant of the impact that these actions will have upon the bar and citizens of this county who have business in the court, especially for people who live some distance from the remaining courthouses. The simple fact is that we can no longer afford to support as many court locations, or support as many services as in the past.” said Presiding Judge of San Bernardino County Marsha Slough.

The closing of courthouses in the San Bernardino County, California cities of Barstow, Needles, and Big Bear will mean that people living in those communities will no longer have a courthouse within a reasonable distance from their homes, and leaving many facing hardships to get to another courthouse.

Many of those communities have very limited public transportation and for those who don’t have no transportation of their own, will be feeling the affect of these closures.

San Bernardino is one of the most under resourced courts in the state, and has been outspoken at

the state level regarding the impact of cuts upon the state’s poorest courts and their communities.

You can read the full news release at the Superior Court of California County of San Bernardino website:

http://www.sb-court.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=YPIDlNAlO3o%3d&tabid=40&mid=395

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