WEST COVINA — The courthouse will again have a single courtroom for domestic violence cases beginning next month, a year after its closure sparked protests from activists and prosecutors.
Presiding Judge Rolf M. Treu announced Thursday that he will handle all domestic violence cases at the Citrus Municipal Court from Jan. 3 in his courtroom.
"My existing caseload will be distributed to the rest of the judges, so that I dedicate my time and effort to the domestic violence cases," Treu said in a statement.
Citrus judges last February disbanded Los Angeles County's first domestic violence courtroom after four years of operation, dispersing the cases among eight judges.
At the time, Treu said the cases could be handled just as well by eight jurists and that the growing caseload in other Citrus courtrooms justified the change.
The closure spurred months of rallies outside the courthouse by domestic abuse groups, a public rebuke from the district attorney and a discussion among county supervisors.
Domestic violence activists argue that such courtrooms provide more consistent sentencing and better supervision of probation, leading to fewer repeat offenders.
Treu cited a promise of state funding for such courts and guarantees from the district attorney and public defender that veteran attorneys would be assigned to it.
Darby Mangen, president of the National Organization for Women's San Gabriel Valley / Whittier chapter, said: "This progressive move by the judge comes as a blessing to the victims of domestic violence. They couldn't have received a better Christmas gift."