Monday, September 30, 2019
Revised Report, to Be Considered by Judicial Council Committee, Does Not Heed Insistence by Superior Court Presiding Judge Brazile That Mosk Courthouse Must Be Placed in That Category
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Judicial Council’s Court Facilities Advisory Committee tomorrow will consider a report, released Friday, that reassesses counties’ needs for courthouse construction, with two projects in Los Angeles upped to the highest priority category of “Immediate Need”—but with the county’s major courthouse not included in that classification.
In August, a draft was issued that placed only four counties—Lake, San Bernardino, Kern and San Joaquin—in the “Immediate Need” category. Under the revised version, an immediate need is recognized for a new 32-courtroom facility in West Los Angeles, to cost $464.9 million, and one in Santa Clarita with 24 courtrooms, to cost $345 million.
Not heeded was the insistence by Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Kevin Brazile that a replacement for the Civic Center’s Stanley Mosk Courthouse, opened on Jan. 5, 1959, must be placed in the “Immediate Need” category. He has pointed out that a 2017 report listed it as the fourth most dangerous courthouse in the state, with the one in Glendale being No. Eight.
Letter to Hill
Brazile said in an Aug. 23 letter to Fifth District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Brad Hill, chair of the committee:
“My understanding is that a report was compiled several years ago stating that the Mosk courthouse is extraordinarily unstable and subject to very serious damage in an earthquake. Nevertheless, many judges and a large number of support staff individuals are working here in what has been identified as an exceedingly dangerous locale. Talk about ‘premises liability!’…In terms of “priority,” it seems to me that issues of danger to life and limb ought to take precedence over all other matters.”
The presiding judge told Los Angeles County Bar Association trustees at their monthly meeting Wednesday night if an immediate need is not recognized, efforts will be launched to lobby members of the Judicial Council. If the committee adopts the current draft tomorrow, it is expected to come before the full Judicial Council at its November meeting, and be submitted to the Legislature by the end of the year.
The Mosk Courthouse is in the category of “Critical Need” or replacement with a 47-courtroom structure, with the cost set at $731.1 million.
A critical need is seen for replacing the East Courthouse in Van Nuys and renovating the West Courthouse there, at a combined cost of $922.4 million.
Also in the “Critical Need” category are new courthouses for Inglewood, $432.1 million; North Central Los Angeles, $196.3; West Covina, $215.5 million; and Eastlake, $119.1 million.
Renovations are termed “critical” for the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, the Metropolitan Courthouse, and the Chatsworth facility.
In the “High Need” category is a new Pasadena Courthouse, to cost $256.9 million.
A medium need is recognized for a new Mental Health Courthouse, Lancaster Dependency Court, Torrance Dependency Court and Traffic Annex, and renovations of the Children’s Courthouse and Compton Courthouse.
Copyright 2019, Metropolitan News Company