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Courts Overcrowding

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 11, 1994 | BILL BOYARSKY
The Los Angeles County Grand Jury is supposed to be the people's watchdog, exposing corruption and inefficiency in government from the Civic Center to small suburban city halls. As anyone familiar with the process knows, that isn't how it works. Actually, the grand jury consists of civic-minded, part-time volunteers whose primary job is to decide whether to indict accused criminals.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 21, 1990 | GEORGE FRANK, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Supervisor Don R. Roth urged a committee on Orange County's criminal justice system Friday to study a proposed four-day workweek for judges, saying the plan would increase efficiency and therefore ease jail overcrowding. Last month, Roth first brought up the idea of judges working 10-hour days four days a week. He said at the time that judges he had consulted were enthusiastic about the plan.
NEWS
December 19, 1990
Abel Rubalcaba stepped out of his car on Oct. 13, 1989, to cash a check at a store on Olympic Boulevard at Soto Street when a woman approached and asked for a ride. Sorry, Rubalcaba said, and he turned away. Suddenly, the woman pressed a knife against his chest. Get in the car, she ordered, and drive. For seven hours at knifepoint, Rubalcaba, 24, did just that. Joined by two friends, the woman made him chauffeur them around the city, cruising aimlessly, stopping occasionally for beer.
NEWS
December 19, 1990 | DAVID FREED, TIMES STAFF WRITER
When postal inspector Tom Dugan began his law enforcement career 15 years ago, the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles would file criminal charges against suspects who had used the mail to defraud victims of $50,000 or more. Today, Los Angeles-based federal prosecutors usually will not accept the case unless the loss to the victim exceeds $250,000, Dugan said. So, he and other postal inspectors generally will not spend time looking into complaints involving anything less than that amount.
NEWS
December 20, 1990
Within a year of getting his driver's license, 18-year-old Fernando (Ferdie) Niebla had accumulated seven traffic tickets, from running stop signs to speeding. His eighth violation cost him less than two months in jail--and the life of a friend. Niebla and four buddies were out late, cruising Boyle Heights' Brooklyn Avenue in December, 1989, when his car hit a power pole.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 13, 1990 | BILL BILLITER
Because of a backlog of cases in Orange County Superior Court, a suit filed by the State Lands Commission to block the Pierside Village development did not go to trial Monday as scheduled. Superior Court Judge Leonard Goldstein told lawyers Monday that the case would be assigned to a court as soon as one is open. The state is seeking to block Huntington Beach's attempt to get full title to land on the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway so that Pierside Village can be built there.
NEWS
October 1, 1990 | PHILIP HAGER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
After a marked decline in its output of decisions, the state Supreme Court is shifting into high gear this week to tackle a heavy load of cases that will result soon in a wide range of important rulings. On Tuesday, the justices will begin hearing arguments on 20 cases in a four-day session in Los Angeles. Their full calendar seems to signal that the court--which has been struggling with rapid turnover within its ranks, an unyielding death-penalty backlog and other burdens--is back on track.
NEWS
May 19, 1990 | TED ROHRLICH
Not everyone agrees civil jury trials are worthwhile. Yale law professor George Priest, for one, says most of the time they are not and there should be a constitutional amendment to limit them. In a study of Chicago courts, perennially among the nation's most heavily backlogged, Priest found that only 800 of the 70,000 pending civil cases go to jury trial each year. Five-year waits to go to trial are common.
NEWS
May 19, 1990 | TED ROHRLICH, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
First, Harriet Smith was hit by a pickup truck while crossing the street. Then she was blindsided by the state of Vermont. Just as her lawsuit against the pickup driver was set for a jury trial, the state said she couldn't have one. Smith was incredulous. Civil jury trials are guaranteed as a matter of right by the U.S. Constitution and referred to as "sacred" by Vermont's.
NEWS
January 1, 1991 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist says the new 25% pay hike for federal judges will help them cope with a sharply rising caseload "fueled by drug cases and an ever-rising tide of personal bankruptcies." In his year-end report on the federal court system, Rehnquist noted that drug prosecutions in federal courts rose 6% in 1990 "while filings for violations of weapons and immigration laws climbed more than 23%."
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