Rich Sue, Poor Don’t In Downsized Courts

Under the downsized and more expensive California court systems, officials are reporting that some types of cases like probate, mental health, dependency, personal injury, property damage, and wrongful death claims continue increasing. But public-access civil cases like small claims, where there’s no attorney involved, are decreasing.

In a solid story from The Reporter newspaper in Vacaville, a Sacramento-area community in Solano County, we learn that “… in a statement issued along with a summary of the report, Justice Douglas Miller, chair of the Judicial Council’s Executive and Planning Committee, called the trend in court filings worrisome [saying] “… it coincides with two other trends that have occurred as result of budget cuts to the judicial branch: the increase in court filing fees to offset General Fund budget cuts and closure of courthouses and/or the reduction of hours at our courthouses. It’s something that we in the judicial branch are very concerned about,” Miller said in a statement.

One concern is that, with diminished hours, increased costs and the challenge of traveling to farther-away court houses, that people who would have normally turned to courts would simply give up. The report can certainly be read to support that claim.