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Local News in Brief : 2 Courthouse Sites Considered

Two sites--one near Los Angeles International Airport and the other in the planned community of Playa Vista--are being considered by Los Angeles County Municipal Court officials for a $70-million courthouse.

The new courthouse is needed to alleviate overcrowded conditions at the West Los Angeles branch court, said Robert Quist, who oversees branch operations for the municipal courts.

He said court officials have yet to enter into serious negotiations for the purchase or lease of either site. The 7.5-acre site on LAX’s northern boundary is owned by the city of Los Angeles, while the state holds a lien on the 7 acres in Playa Vista.

The sites represent virtually the only vacant land of the size needed for the planned courthouse, Quist said. Initially the courthouse is expected to house 16 judges, but it will be designed so it can be expanded to 24, he said.

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Overcrowding in the 28-year-old West Los Angeles courthouse is severe; four of that court’s 10 judges are holding court in trailers.

“We are overcrowded and we need a place, and we feel the Westchester-Marina area would make a lot more sense (for a new courthouse) than expanding our present site,” Quist said.

Once a deal for a site is struck, Quist said, it will take about three years to build the courthouse, which will be paid for with the county’s share of a surcharge on court fines.


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