Courts to Hold First Furlough Day, Delaying All But Emergency Hearings

Courts to Hold First Furlough Day, Delaying All But Emergency Hearings

Taylor Martinez

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – All Riverside County courthouses are slated to be shut down Friday except for emergency hearings, as part of a one-day-a-month closure to save money amid budgetary shortfalls.

According to the Superior Court Executive Office, all 14 courthouses will be shuttered and employees furloughed starting Friday and continuing every third Friday of each month until June.

Officials said the closures are necessary to contend with a $12 million deficit that stems from the $54 billion in composite losses at the state level since the coronavirus public health lockdowns began in March.

Hearings already on the docket are expected to be automatically postponed to a new date.

Superior Court Presiding Judge John Vineyard curtailed hours and completely closed some courthouses to public access in March as a health safety precaution, but most branches have since resumed normal operations with safety protocols in place. However, the Moreno Valley Traffic & Small Claims Court, along with the Corona, Hemet and Temecula courthouses, remain shut down.

Other courthouses are generally open to the public between 7:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily.

The rotating monthly closures will occur on the following Fridays, after this month:

— Nov. 20;

— Dec. 18;

— Jan. 15;

— Feb. 19;

— March 19;

— April 16;

— May 21; and

— June 18.

The last time the Superior Court implemented closures on a monthly basis was at the height of the Great Recession. At that time, the state’s budget shortfall was about half of the current level, and all county courthouses were closed the third Wednesday of each month for 10 months, beginning in September 2009.

However, as with the current scheduled shutdowns, several courthouses remained available for emergency or urgent matters.

More information is available at https://www.riverside.courts.ca.gov/.

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