WHAT: Los Angeles courts — the nation’s largest legal system — have already closed 17 courtrooms. Another 50 will be shut down in September unless something is done to find more money. Presiding Judge Charles W. McCoy Jr. predicts an unprecedented logjam of civil and family law cases resulting from the decision of financially troubled California to slash $393 million from trial courts statewide.
DISTURBING DELAYS: Custody hearings, divorce proceedings, small-claims disputes and juvenile dependency cases face record-long delays. Drivers who choose to fight traffic tickets now must wait as long as nine months to reach trial. Complex civil lawsuits between feuding businesses already take an average of 16 months to be heard, but court officials expect upcoming waits to reach four years.