By Michael P. Neufeld
San Bernardino, CA – Supervisor James Ramos in concerned about the impact of several upcoming court closures.
Ramos, who represents the third supervisorial district, has joined forces with First District Supervisor, Robert Lovingood, to call a closed door session with local court officials to consider possible solutions regarding the funding crisis that is closing courts in Big Bear, Barstow and Needles in May. The meeting — scheduled for Thursday, January 31 – will also involve representatives from the District Attorney’s office, Public Defender’s office, San Bernardino County Bar Association, High Desert Bar Association, and the County Executive Officer.
Presiding Judge, Marsha G. Slough, announced the closures in a press release in December 2012, citing a series of cost reduction measures intended to close an operating shortfall by the end of the fiscal year. The Big Bear and Barstow courthouses are located in Ramos’ district and Needles in Lovingood’s district.
“Closures of these courts,” Ramos stated in a media advisory, “will create additional burdens for residents, who will have to travel greater distances in order to take care of court business.”
Ramos began looking for ways to mitigate the impact of the closures, despite the fact the courts are funded by the State of California.
Ramos has indicated that some of the topics of the closed session will include transportation and technological solutions, as well as working with the county’s legislative delegation in Sacramento to fix the “inequitable funding of our courts at the state level.”