Need to File Papers in Sacramento Family Court? Arrive Early and Bring Your Lawn Chair

  • United States
  • 08/25/2011
  • Debra Cassens Weiss - American Bar Association

Budget cuts are leading to long lines and delayed justice in California state courts.

In Sacramento family court, litigants bring lawn chairs to make long waits to file paperwork more comfortable, report the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

Some wait hours without reaching the front of the line. Divorcing couple Gilberto and Jessica Salcedo told the Wall Street Journal they arrived at the Sacramento family relations courthouse at 9 a.m. one day earlier this month. At the court’s 4 p.m. closing, they still hadn’t reached the help window and had to go home.

In San Francisco, litigants in civil matters are likely to face longer waits for trials due to the closing of 25 courtrooms and layoffs of more than 175 court employees, the Times says. The average wait for divorce, for example, is expected to be 18 months.

The delays are due to funding cuts of $350 million in the judiciary’s latest budget. Since 2009, court funding from the state’s general fund has fallen by 30 percent, the Wall Street Journal says.