gavel

Beau Yarbrough, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/28/2012 05:13:10 PM PST
Updated: 12/28/2012 06:55:15 PM PST

CHINO – It was quiet at the Chino Superior Court on Friday afternoon, with only a trickle of people coming in and out, paying traffic tickets and other fines.

But no cases were being tried in the building’s three courtrooms: The last case being tried there wrapped up on Christmas Eve, and the courthouse will shut its doors for the last time on New Years Eve.

“Once it started, we realized it definitely was (the final case), because all of the other cases there were continued or resolved,” said San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Will Wooten. He tried that case, in which a male massage therapist was accused of sexual battery against a female customer.

“The week before Christmas, people started going on vacation. It was a matter of trying to resolve what we could.”

The courthouse is being shut to partially plug a $13.5 deficit in the county court system’s budget. The state court system has faced $1.14 billion in cuts in the past four fiscal years.

The Chino courthouse reviews, files and prosecutes between 5 and 6 percent of the criminal cases in the county. About 20,000 annual infraction cases will be divided up between the Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana courthouses, along with the 4,000 misdemeanor cases filed in Chino each year. The court’s 700 annual felony cases will be handled in Rancho Cucamonga.

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