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CHAOS IN COURTS CONTINUES

By: Dennis R. Stout

The domino effect of the budget shortfalls in the State of California court system continues to develop. Previously the Los Angeles Superior Court system announced the closure of four civil courtrooms in Pomona. Most recently, the San Bernardino County Superior Court system has announced that the entire Chino courthouse will close effective January 1, 2013. This will include both civil and criminal divisions, with cases likely to be reassigned to the Rancho Cucamonga and/or Fontana courthouses for hearing.

There was discussion in the San Bernardino County Court system that the Barstow facility would also be subject to closure. Cutbacks in Big Bear and Needles have already resulted in cases being reassigned throughout the county system, including Barstow. It appears that the Barstow Superior Court is safe… for now!

Closure of entire court complexes effect not only litigants but local law enforcement and businesses as well. The inconvenience to litigants by having to travel to venues farther away, wait in longer lines, and have their cases likely take longer to complete, will create further backlogs in the justice system with greater time and expense for all.

There does not appear to be a quick or easy solution to the budget problems. Private litigation (mediation, arbitration, trials), outside of the court system, may be the wave of the future. Attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are ready, willing, and able to assist all litigants in these tough times.

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