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Reiner Fears 'Sabotage' of Night Court Plan

January 28, 1987|TED VOLLMER | Times Staff Writer

Despite an agreement by Los Angeles Superior Court judges to continue a year-old night-court experiment, Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner predicted Tuesday that the judges will work to "sabotage" the program.

Reiner, addressing the Board of Supervisors, said that despite Monday's vote of the Superior Court executive committee, "the judges want (night court) to fail" because they do not want to work at night.

"Very few Superior Court judges will openly say they won't work; (but) the prospect of going to work at night is not popular with the judges," Reiner said. He dismissed as "sophistry" arguments from the judges that the night court should be abandoned because it is inefficient.

"You have to distinguish between a reason and an excuse," Reiner said.

In response, Frank Zolin, executive officer of the Superior Court, said that the court's executive committee did not "preclude expansion" of the pilot program, but added that the judges want to carefully analyze, in the coming months, whether the experiment is cost-effective.

The year-old night court project was set to expire June 30, but the Superior Court judges agreed Monday to participate for up to two more years.

Backers, including Reiner, said that the night court program should be expanded as a means of further reducing a chronic civil and criminal case backlog. The night court program has been supported by the Los Angeles Municipal Court judges, who have two felony courts assigned to the project compared to the Superior Court's one.

The supervisors, while unable to order the judges to conduct the night court experiment, discussed backing state legislation that would pay night court judges more money as an incentive to work the late shift.

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