[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | City Asks Courts to Rethink Local Cuts | 10-31-2012
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
64°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 5
1828 - Soledad Canyon settler John Lang born in Herkimer County, N.Y. [story]


Citing cost, convenience and a decision Friday to delay construction on a new Santa Clarita Valley courthouse indefinitely, Santa Clarita City Council members are urging Los Angeles County court officials to restore court services locally.

However, court officials are saying that residents need to become accustomed to fewer services in the coming year, and the restoration of previous fiscal cuts is unlikely.

“What the (City Council) wants is to get the full range of court services be provided here in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Mike Murphy, intergovernmental relations officer for the city.

There are three main areas that affect residents, according to issues that were brought to council members’ attention at their Oct. 9 meeting, Murphy said.

City Council members addressed a letter to Judge Steven Jahr, who oversees the Administrative Office of the Courts, asking his office to re-evaluate the state’s decision on a new, full-service courthouse in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Relatively minor issues of jurisprudence, such as reporting for jury service, as well as the handling of small claims and civil cases, are now split between San Fernando and Chatsworth courthouses. These issues were previously handled by the Santa Clarita courthouse until Feb. 1.

“We’ve already seen a big reduction,” said Mary Hearn, spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Superior Court, regarding the court system’s efforts to address a shrinking budget.

“I would say that what the public needs to expect in the coming years is a further reduction of services, and that’s what the public needs to be prepared for,” Hearn said.

She added that any decision on a new courthouse would have to come from the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts, which is responsible for deciding the court’s spending priorities.

While county court officials had to address a $30 million budget reduction for the fiscal year 2012-13 starting in July, the local reductions in service weren’t all motivated by cost.

Hearn explained the consolidation of civil and small claims caseloads to the Chatsworth courthouse as a maneuver that was based on the efficiency of the court’s resources, not as a cost-cutting move. The Chatsworth court was better equipped to handle these cases due to its staff, Hearn said.

As far as making jurors report to the San Fernando courthouse before they find out if they will have to serve on a jury in San Fernando or Santa Clarita, that was a cost-cutting move, Hearn said.

She said there were two full-time staffers who handled jury service exclusively in Santa Clarita, and they were re-assigned.

The county’s court system has reduced its size from 5,600 employees to 4,800 over the last 10 years.

The budget crunch also puts a pinch on law enforcement resources, according to local law enforcement officials.

When detectives and deputies need to review cases or evidence, trips to the San Fernando Valey can eat up valuable time and resources, according to Lt. Brenda Cambra of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

“They made the cuts based on the courts’ needs, but the reality is that the cuts do affect everybody,” she said.

And the budget projections are bleak for the court system, Hearn explained.

“We’re looking at further cutting services,” Hearn said. “Somewhere between $54 million on the low end and $82 million on the high end,” were the estimates given for the budget reduction facing the county’s courts in the next fiscal year.

She added that the projections were based on the passage of Proposition 30, which means that the deficit could be even worse if Gov. Jerry Brown’s ballot measure calling for  sales-tax and income-tax hikes don’t pass on Tuesday’s ballot.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

Comments are closed.

Related Content
LATEST CITY HEADLINES
Friday, May 1, 2015
The City of Santa Clarita won four state awards for creative communication, presented by the California Association of Public Information Officers at their annual conference. Santa Clarita’s Communications Division won two first place awards as well as a second and third place award.
Friday, May 1, 2015
The City of Santa Clarita is still accepting registration for the 12th Annual Bike to Work Day Challenge on Thursday, May 14.
Friday, May 1, 2015
This month, join the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library as they host two exciting events for book enthusiasts of all ages.
Thursday, Apr 30, 2015
Residents of all ages are invited to grab their bikes and gear up for a free community bike ride at the City of Santa Clarita’s Hit the Trail event, presented by PayForward. The family-friendly event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 9, at Valencia Heritage Park
Thursday, Apr 30, 2015
The City of Santa Clarita is encouraging local residents to provide valuable input for the Master Development Plan of the new Canyon Country Community Center by attending a public workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, n the Community Room at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library.
Friend Activity

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Following a large response from the Santa Clarita community, United States Postal Service officials recently announced their top choice for the Newhall Post Office at a location on Lyons Avenue in the Newhall community.
Mayor: Post Office Returning to Newhall
Elizabeth Rydall is a mother, teacher, artist, blogger and breast cancer survivor. Her journey is a mélange of discoveries, disappointments, victories, revelations and relationships. Her upcoming art show, “22 Months,” will feature paintings, sculptures and photographs that dive into the realities and rawness of cancer as well as the potential to find beauty and joy in any circumstances.
May 14: Exhibit Reveals Local Artist’s Journey Through Breast Cancer
The Ford Theatres 2015 summer season is preempted due to renovations, so the Los Angeles County Arts Commission is taking the Ford on the Road. Events include more than 30 free JAM Sessions taking place all over LA County including Newhall from May to October.
First Thursdays: Ford Theatres JAM Sessions Return to Newhall
Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe is proud to announce that the County’s Safe Surrender Program celebrated success for the fifth time this year with the report of a safely surrendered newborn baby girl over the weekend. This most recent Safe Surrender occurred on May 2 at a hospital in Lynwood.
Baby Girl ‘Safely Surrendered’ in Lynwood
Castaic Union School District officials have put Superintendent Jim Gibson on paid administrative leave following a board vote Monday, officials said.
Castaic Schools Chief Placed on Leave
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that Saugus High School is being recognized as a California Gold Ribbon School for 2015.
Saugus High School Earns Gold-Ribbon Status
Santa Clarita Sports Report: May 05, 2015
Santa Clarita Sports Report: May 05, 2015
Dominant on the field and in the classroom, nine Masters student athletes have been named to the GSAC Scholarly Athlete teams for their respective sports.
Nine Mustangs Earn GSAC Scholarly Athlete Honors
1828 - Soledad Canyon settler John Lang born in Herkimer County, N.Y. [story]
A car accident on the South Bound 14 sparked a 4 acre brush fire today. Plus, The Newhall School District is seeking public input on a new voting plan . Click the link to see those stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, May 4, 2015
More than 1,000 guests attended the 27th annual Taste of the Town, benefiting the Child & Family Center of Santa Clarita, held Sunday at the Mann Biomedical Park in Valencia.
Town Gets a Taste, Child & Family Center Gets Support
Upcoming business networking opportunities facilitated by the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
SCV Chamber Networking Opportunities, May 2015
The Santa Clarita Valley chapter of the National Association of Professional Women will meet May 19 at Marie Callender's in Valencia for a discussion of "women empowerment."
May 19: Professional Women to Discuss Empowerment
An estimated 10,658 students — 8,180 bachelor’s, 2,423 master’s and 55 doctoral degree candidates — are eligible to take part in exercises scheduled to begin the morning of Friday, May 15, with the university’s Honors Convocation and conclude the evening of Monday, May 18, with the last of CSUN’s seven 2105 commencement ceremonies.
CSUN Graduation Ceremonies Begin May 15
RSVP for the 2015 B2B & CEO Forum
Don’t Miss the 2015 B2B & CEO Forum
President & CEO Tamara Gurney of Mission Valley Bancorp (parent company of Mission Valley Bank) ) reports first quarter earnings of $533,000 – the strongest first quarter in the history of the Bank.
Mission Valley Bank Announces Record Quarter
Railroad historian and author-photographer Tom Gildersleeve will present a multimedia slide show with narration and music, depicting operations on the San Juan extension of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad on Saturday, May 30, at the Old Town Newhall Library
May 30: Historical Presentation for Train Buffs
Los Angeles County firefighters are responding to a vehicle fire that has caused a brush fire on the southbound SR-14 Freeway near the SR-14/ I-5 connector.
Vehicle Fire Ignites Brush in Newhall Pass
Matt Ryan played the par-5 18th at Greensboro’s Forest Oaks Country Club four times on Saturday, but the fourth and final go-around on the finishing hole proved to be the one that mattered most.
Matt Ryan wins Forest Oaks Classic
Lemawork Ketema won the Wings for Life World Run for the second year in succession, while Japan’s Yuuko Watanabe was crowned women’s champion, as runners joined together across the globe in support of research into spinal cord injury – and produced an incredible race and an even better party.
Wings For Life Run Another World Success
County prosecutors filed a complaint against three men sought by Sheriff’s Department officials last week in connection with charges they organized a fake police department and pretended to be officers.
Locals Accused of Creating Fake Police Dept.
In the most dominating performance of the meet, the U.S. women essentially ran a time trial in the 4x800m relay, with Chanelle Price, Maggie Vessey, Molly Beckwith-Ludlow and Santa Clarita's own Alysia Montaño winning in 8:00.62 to break the American and meet record of 8:01.58 set here last year. Poland finished second in 8:11.36, with Australia third in 8:13.97.
Alysia Montaño and Crew Break U.S. Record at IAAF World Relays
The College of the Canyons baseball team had 10 players named to the All-Western State Conference, South Division team — and three more earn gold glove honors — as the Cougars were recognized for their talents at the plate, in the field and on the mound.
COC Baseball Has 10 Players Named to 2015 All-WSC Team
Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club members are connecting books to bookworms while bringing the community together with Little Free Libraries.
Rotarians Install ‘Little Free Libraries’ Around Town