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Mono County Courts Avoid Partial Shutdown

Recently, state officials reluctantly agreed to give Mono County $49,000 to help it meet retirement expenses and keep it open full time.

Three years ago, the state basically confiscated county courts’ reserve funds as part of the budget package, so they now have no way to deal with unexpected emergencies. In this case, Mono County had to pay $49,000 to cover sick and vacation time cash-outs to retiring employees earlier this year. According to Mono County court clerk Hector Gonzalez, if the county were unable to make the payment, it would have to close the court for at least four days beginning next summer.

Some people on the Judicial Counsel objected to giving Mono County the entire amount, claiming that such a move would set a dangerous precedent. For example, Council member Judge David Buckley of Los Angeles was only willing to give Mono County $33,000, or a refund of its contribution to the emergency fund for this budget year. In the end, however, the Council voted 17-2 to hand over the entire amount.

Court Procedure

As the state’s financial problems drag on seemingly without end, a number of agencies are starting to feel the pinch. Many are faced with reductions in hours of operation and staffing levels; others are slated for outright closure.

The budget crunch is especially hard on smaller jurisdictions. In the above example, $49,000 is a drop in the bucket in places like Fresno County, but it is a princely sum in places like Inyo County. The ticket amnesty does not help, because these counties must deal with an influx of calls and they receive very little revenue in return.

Already, many places have closed satellite courts and clerks do not answer phones. As the crisis continues, expect it to get harder to challenge a speeding ticket. Night courts will probably shut down, and since traffic tickets are not technically criminal cases, the Legislature may put up even more hurdles than that.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.