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Courthouses expect layoffs

Employees hired after July 1 will likely lose their jobs, county spokesman says.

March 10, 2010|By Veronica Rocha

BURBANK — More than 300 courthouse workers are expected to be laid off this month, a move officials said will almost certainly affect the local justice system.

While the layoff notices are expected to go out Tuesday, officials have not determined how the cuts will affect each of the county’s 50 courthouses, Los Angeles County Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said.

However, he said, employees hired since July 1 will likely be laid off.

The Burbank and Glendale courthouses experienced cuts in 2002, Parachini said.

In an effort to save money, the court system cut costs for the buildings’ prisoner lockup facilities.

Making those cuts was difficult, he said, but laying off hundreds of employees and further trimming back on services will be worse.

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“We have already done the easy stuff,” he said.

This year’s cuts will undoubtedly affect the courts’ ability to work efficiently and push cases, especially civil matters, through the system quickly, Parachini said.

Civil cases generally take up to 16 months to complete, he said. But with the slated cuts, those cases may take up to four and half years to wrap up, Parachini added.

The Glendale Bar Assn. is concerned about the cuts’ long-term effect on the legal process, said Lucy Varpetian, senior assistant Glendale attorney, who represents the association.

The cuts could have a domino effect on the community, taking police officers away from the city to testify in cases being tried at out-of-area courthouses, she said.

Some attorneys may also relocate if cuts are made to Glendale’s courthouse, Varpetian said.

Attorney Barry Ross, president of the Burbank Bar Assn., said he worries about the effect of the cuts on citizens and the types of services they receive.

With civil cases expected to take longer to wrap up, more parties will likely seek mediation services, Ross said.


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