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L.A. County court to eliminate more than 500 jobs this week

This post has been corrected, as noted below.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court plans to eliminate more than 500 jobs by the end of the week in a sweeping cost-cutting plan to close a projected $85-million budget shortfall for the next fiscal year.

On Friday, layoff notices will be hand-delivered to employees as 511 court positions are eliminated. While some positions will simply go unfilled, 177 people will lose their jobs, court officials announced Tuesday.

An additional 139 people will receive demotions and pay cuts, and 223 people will be transferred to new work locations, officials said.

Including this round of cuts, the court has lost 1,398 positions since 2008, according to Mary Hearn, a court spokeswoman.

The courts are funded by the state, which has slashed funding in recent years, leading to court closures, higher court fees and longer waits for cases to be heard.

The governor agreed this week, as part of a deal with legislators, to restore $63 million to the courts in the budget that will take effect July 1.

But the additional funds -- of which L.A. County should receive about a third -- will not stop the cuts in L.A. County Superior Court, said David Wesley, the presiding judge.

"We are glad that restoration of trial court funding has begun," Wesley said in a statement. "But it is a shame that it is too little, too late, to stop the awful reductions in access to justice that state funding cuts have brought."

For years, the Los Angeles County court system prided itself on providing full-service "neighborhood courts" across the county, Wesley said. But, he said, the budget cuts mean the system simply does not have the resources to continue to provide the same level of services.

[For the Record, 9:42 a.m. PDT, June 12, 2013: A previous version of this post said the court has lost nearly 900 employees since 2008, but including this current round of cuts, the court has lost 1,398 positions since 2008, according to Mary Hearn, a court spokeswoman.]


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