By Mike Cruz Staff Writer
Created: 08/12/2011 09:51:32 PM PDT

State Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is convening meetings with key members of the state bar association to develop solutions for massive budget cuts in California’s courts.

Cantil-Sakauye sent out a news release Friday to announce that she met a day earlier with lawyers in the San Francisco Bay area and another meeting with lawyers is scheduled in two weeks in Los Angeles.

Court administrators are grappling with solutions for a $350million cut to their 2011-12 budget from the state Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown.

That amount resulted in a 6.9percent cut to trial courts statewide, as well as other cuts to the state Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, the Judicial Council and Court Administrative Office.

“The judicial system in California cannot be sustained at the current levels of funding,” Cantil-Sakauye told lawyers in San Francisco.

While the courts are in crisis, they are all in it together, she continued.

“We need to find long-term solutions, and we invite your best thinking,” said the chief justice. “Many of you have multi-jurisdictional practices and whatever solution we come up with should be statewide solutions.”

Members of the San Bernardino County Bar Association praised the local courts at a gathering last week for making justice work amid tight resources and in the face of significant challenges, like a population that’s growing and geographic distances.

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