San Francisco Superior Courts will limit its hours and close its doors every Friday for the rest of the year because of the $5.3 million deficit, according to the state-run court’s presiding Judge Teri Jackson.
The resulting budget cut is the largest across the state’s 58 trial courts and could impact trials, civil cases and most other court proceedings.
“We are committed to keeping our courtrooms open and continuing to prioritize access to justice despite the 9 percent cut in our state funding allocation for the fiscal year that began two days ago,” Jackson said in a statement.
The court system, including criminal and civil cases, will furlough all clerk staff one day a month starting Aug. 4 and reduce hours every Friday starting Sept. 1. Drop boxes will be open for anyone needing to deliver court documents after these hours. The furloughs and limited hours are expected to last until June 2018 when the current fiscal year ends.
The limited hours will not directly impact court proceedings, but caseloads could be reduced due to a lack of clerk staff. Judges are not being forced to take a furlough day, but Jackson did ask judges to voluntarily give up $509, which is about a day’s pay, each month.
The budget issues arose from a 2013 formula set up to fairly distribute the resources of court staff across the state. The resulting funding cut, which started Saturday, reduced the budget from $56.9 million to $51.7 million.