While most courthouses in Los Angeles had already been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders, presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile ordered the closure of all 38 courthouses Monday.
This comes after L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced a countywide curfew Sunday due to the unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which led to countywide protests and riots, including a peaceful protest in Santa Clarita.
“Out of an abundance of caution, I am taking the extraordinary step of closing our courthouses tomorrow to protect the safety of the public, judicial officers and employees,” Brazile said in a prepared statement. “This is not a decision I make lightly. But public safety is always our paramount concern.”
Since Brazile released his order to scale back court operations on March 17 amid the “Safer at Home” order, 473 of the court’s 600 courtrooms, or approximately 80%, have been closed, including the Santa Clarita Courthouse.
The countywide courthouse closure comes as court officials were planning on reopening clerk’s office operations on June 15 under a revised model that requires face coverings, prioritizes telephone and online services, with appointments to meet court personnel in-person, to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
All courthouses are expected to reopen Tuesday to handle time-sensitive and essential functions, except those that had been closed due to the pandemic, while hearings are expected to begin to gradually resume June 22.
For more information, visit lacourt.org.