Scales of Justice

By Lori Fowler
lori.fowler@ inlandnewspapers.com @IECourtsNow on Twitter
Posted: 05/16/2013 05:31:14 PM PDT
Updated: 05/16/2013 05:31:22 PM PDT

A group of local officials are spearheading an effort to re-staff courts and provide more funds to what they call a starving court system.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, has co-authored a bill, introduced in March, that he says is a step toward properly funding California’s judicial system.

AB 1313 would allocate up to 12 additional judicial positions throughout the state each year to the counties with the greatest disparity between their current allocation and the state Judicial Council’s recommendation, Donnelly said.

The bill would be in effect when money is available, he added.

“The courts are literally being starved to death while our population is exploding, so the need is absolutely there,” Donnelly said about the record-high court deficit in San Bernardino County. “This is absolutely something we’re supposed to be doing. ”

Courthouses in Chino, Needles and Big Bear closed this year because of budget cuts.

Shuttered courthouses and depleting funds have created a backlog of cases and led to hundreds of staff layoffs, Donnelly said. Some residents in San Bernardino County will now have to travel two hours or more to reach the nearest courtroom.

“(AB 1313) was born out of the dire crisis that we’re facing here in San Bernardino County,” Donnelly said.

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