The good news, according to the Ventura County Star, is that local leaders have come up with a plan to prevent the East County Courthouse in Simi Valley from shutting down at the end of this month due to the state deficit.  But, of course, the difficult part will be making the plan work.  Success depends on Ventura County and most of the county’s ten (10) cities paying a share of the cost to keep the courthouse running.

Offices in a majority of the cities have already agreed to pay, because their residents will save money in the long run.  But the county’s second-largest city, Thousand Oaks, has not yet signed on to this funding plan.

This arrangement seems to make sense even for cash-strapped cities, notwithstanding the fact that court funding is a responsibility of a state government that’s trying to patch over a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall.  Not only would closing the East County Courthouse inconvenience the thousands of east-county residents who use it each year, it would also create problems for people throughout the county.  Shifting those east-county court cases, which are mostly traffic-related and equate to about 17,000 per year, to the main courthouse in Ventura would increase backlogs and waiting times for those who use the Hall of Justice, no matter where in the county they live.

It would also force police from the east-county cities of Moorpark, Simi Valley, and Thousand Oaks, and offices from the Moorpark office of the California Highway Patrol, to make the longer drive to Ventura to appear in court.  That would increase the cities/ and CHP’s costs or decrease their time efficiency, or both.  The bad news is that on June 25th, all east county family law cases will still be transferred to the main courthouse in Ventura.

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