Author: Wendy Hillger
Have you wondered why it takes so long to have your matter heard by a judge in California?
Unfortunately, the trial courts are not being properly funded. As a result, there are reduced hours of operation, reduced services, and fewer workers to staff the courts. California Supreme Court’s Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye noted that chronic under-funding of the courts, “unfairly affects members of the public seeking their day in court.”
In 2008, the San Francisco Court’s budget was $90.5 million. At the time, the Court employed nearly 600 non-judicial staff. However, because of the subsequent Recession, California’s trial courts saw severe budget reductions.
While the economy has improved, the funding has not been substantially restored.
In July, 2017, San Francisco trial courts saw their budget further reduced by 9% for the fiscal year 2017-2018. The court has a budget deficit of over $5.2 million dollars. Today, the Court’s budget amounts to just $51.7 million, with a staff of approximately 430.
To help save money, San Francisco announced that court staff are being furloughed without pay for one day a month. In addition, the clerk’s office will close early on Fridays. Alameda County also has experienced a similar shortfall and has been on reduced staff hours and services for a few years now.