Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, July 25, 2001


Page 3


Board Approves Steps to Increase Courthouse Security


By a MetNews Staff Writer


In a response to repeated incidents of people jumping to their deaths from the Central Courthouse, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a recommendation to improve pubic safety on the ninth floor balcony.

The recommendation, brought to the board by county Mayor Michael Antonovich, instructs Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen to work with the executive officer of the court and the Sheriff’s Department to prevent public access to the ledge on the balcony next to the top-floor cafeteria.

The court is considering either adding fencing to the already existing ledge or changing the use of the space entirely by converting the minimally-used cafeteria into an additional juror assembly room Superior Court Deputy Executive Officer Debbi Lizzari said.

“The cafeteria is not highly used and we feel that the space could be better utilized,” Lizzari siad.

A meeting between the Sheriff’s Department, the court and the county is scheduled for Thursday, she said.

Four people have plunged to their deaths from the ninth floor observation deck in the last six months, including two children who were pushed off the balcony by their suicidal mother.

On Dec. 20, La Shandra Crozier pushed her two young daughters—Breanna, 7, and Joan, 5—from the balcony and then jumped herself after losing a court battle earlier in the day over back rent.

The court decision meant she and her family were going to be evicted.

The latest suicide involving the courthouse occurred June 29 when a 35-year-old homeless man jumped to his death off the ninth floor patio after leaving a farewell note for family and friends.

Verlossie Maurice Stringfellow was scheduled for a hearing six years ago, but had no scheduled appearance on June 29, LAPD Sgt. John Pasquariello said.

Janssen will report back to the board on the recommendation’s progress in two weeks.


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company