Scales of Justice

By Lori Fowler, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 10/21/13, 5:42 PM PDT |

The Superior Court of San Bernardino County has released plans to reorganize local cases when the new Justice Center in downtown San Bernardino opens.

Attorneys and judges were advised earlier this month about the significant changes, which includes sending all family and civil cases from the courthouse in Rancho Cucamonga to San Bernardino.

The plans will take effect in May.

“These changes will allow this court, which has been historically underfunded and is dealing with several consecutive years of budget cuts, to manage its scarce resources as effectively and efficiently as possible,” said Presiding Judge Marsha Slough.

The reorganization looks like this:

San Bernardino district criminal cases, both felonies and misdemeanors, will be heard in the new San Bernardino Justice Center.

Countywide civil cases, including those from Rancho Cucamonga, will be moved to the new San Bernardino Justice Center.

West Valley Superior Courthouse in Rancho Cucamonga will only hear West End criminal cases. Felony and misdemeanor cases in Fontana will be reviewed to determine which courthouse – San Bernardino or Rancho Cucamonga – is better equipped to hear them.

The Rancho Cucamonga courthouse will also have temporary hearings on both civil and domestic violence restraining order matters.

San Bernardino family law cases will stay in the historic San Bernardino building. Rancho Cucamonga family law cases will move to the historic courthouse in San Bernardino.

Family law cases in Victorville will stay where they are.

Cases of small claims, landlord tenants and traffic/non-traffic infractions from the San Bernardino, Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga districts will be heard in Fontana.

The new Justice Center, which the restructure revolves around, is scheduled to be open for business on May 28.

“This is an opportunity for us to really evaluate how we do business as efficiently and effectively and smartly as we can,” Slough said.

The reorganization is one of the solutions intended to offset the court’s darkest hour.

Slough said within the county court system, 86 judges are doing the work of 156, and 866 employees are doing the work of about 1,500.

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