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Judges Advise Public Vote on Court Bonds

April 14, 1987|JOHN SPANO | Times Staff Writer

A bond issue to finance a $130-million to $150-million criminal courts building should be put before Orange County voters as soon as next year, Orange County Superior Court judges and county administrators say.

A public vote on the proposed new courthouse is the centerpiece of a plan to meet Superior Court space needs. The plan, jointly recommended by judges, County Administrative Officer Larry Parrish and the county General Services Agency, was outlined in a letter last week to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The unified position was in sharp contrast to the verbal jousting last month between Parrish and Presiding Superior Court Judge Harmon G. Scoville over how critical courtroom shortages now are.

The letter also recommended moving the public defender's office out of the main courthouse in downtown Santa Ana and into leased space at unspecified locations.

Supervisors also will be urged to move probate and family law courts into a revamped juvenile court facility. The new juvenile court facility, of unspecified cost, was recommended for completion by April, 1990.

However, night court, a possibility considered last month as a stopgap solution to courtroom overcrowding, was not mentioned in the letter.

Last week, judges asked county supervisors to seek approval of the creation of 15 new Superior Court judgeships, three less than the number recommended by the state Judicial Council on March 30. Judges cited a 28% increase in felony cases in 1985 and hefty jumps in new personal injury lawsuits as justification for the new judicial posts.

Judges also asked supervisors to lend a hand in their attempt to convince state lawmakers--who have the sole authority to create new judicial posts--that such an increase is needed.

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