Gavel Grab

Judge: 'The Civil Justice System in San Francisco is Collapsing'

Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein of the San Francisco Superior Court has announced the layoff of 40 percent of the court’s staff and closure of 25 courtrooms, due to funding cuts.

“The civil justice system in San Francisco is collapsing,” an Associated Press article quoted Judge Feinstein as saying.

Here’s a summary of the impact, predicted by a San Francisco Chronicle report:

“It will soon take hours to pay a traffic ticket in San Francisco, months to get court records and at least a year and a half to get a divorce. With a few exceptions, only criminal cases will go to trial.”

While the San Francisco courts previously coped with fiscal pressures by using furloughs, reducing services, and draining  a reserve fund, now 200 employees will be laid off and 25 of 63 courtrooms will be shuttered.

“Now we’re broke, and it will not be easy to ever put this court back together again,” Judge Feinstein said at a news conference. The assessment was the topic of a front-page news story in the San Francisco newspaper, entitled “S.F. courts warn of budget disaster, huge delays.”

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