I'm starting a new feature called "The Bench". In keeping with the California-based theme of my blog, I want to update you on notable events occurring within the Superior Court system. I'll also keep an eye on the Federal District Court.
I recently attended a symposium in which some judges offered a very bleak outlook for the courts in the near-term. We were informed of the impending first round of cost-cutting measures that I cited in the headline, and as the article mentions, this is just the beginning.
According to additional information I've received, it's estimated that the cuts will ultimately grow to 1,800 – and at an estimated ten employees needed to support each courtroom, that means eventually 180 courtrooms could be shuttered. Maybe I should say 'shuddered', because that's how several of the attendees reacted as they exited the symposium.
The judges estimated that, by the time all of the cuts are made, civil litigation may take up to four years or more to reach trial. That's a sobering statistic; especially since the Rules of Civil Procedure don't allow for indefinite delays. And it's a non-starter in criminal cases (defendants have a constitutional right to a speedy trial).
In four years, I'd expect the litigants to forget what the original dispute was about!