Hundreds Protest Courthouse Closures

  • 03/15/2013
  • Terelle Jerricks

Hundreds rallied outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles March 14, to protest upcoming closures of several courthouses throughout the county.

Critics argue the court closures will force citizens into longer commute times, increased transportation cost and potentially less access to justice.

“People are going to show up at court buildings that have been in their neighborhood for years and find it closed,” Bob Schoonover, president of SEIU Local 721, said during the rally. “I’ve seen it, and there’s a look of bewilderment on their face as they ask ‘What do I do? Where do I go?’ but this is going to be happening all over the county.”

The Los Angeles Superior Court’s plan to close the courthouses is a direct response to Los Angeles’ $56 to $86 million budget shortfall expected at the beginning of the fiscal year July 1.

The march was planned by The Save Our Courts Coalition,  a collection of different groups including the SEIU Local 721, ACLU Southern California, and many others.

During the rally, protesters staged a mock trial in which they reenacted a courtroom scene. Protesters,  representing the citizens of Los Angeles, faced off with “Mr.One Percent” who represented the Superior Court Judges.

Legal aid providers filed a federal lawsuit against the Superior Court after the conclusion of the rally.

“We’re going to do everything we can to stop these closures because, if the judges have their way, we’re the ones who will be left behind,” said Schoonover in a statement. “Our neighbors and family members will be taking five-hour bus rides across the county just to have their day in court. That’s just not fair.”

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