The Superior Court of Los Angeles County serves a diverse population of over 10 million people with its 550 judicial officers and over 4,600 other employees serving a diverse population. It is the largest trial court systemin the nation with 38 courthouses in 12 judicial districts located throughout the Los Angeles county’s 4,752 square miles.
On September 10, 2020, the court system announced that the superior court judges had unanimously elected current Assistant Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor as the upcoming Presiding Judge. Taylor’s two-year term beings on January 1, 2021.
During the announcement Judge-Elect Taylor stated, “The Court is focused on a safe expansion of access to justice after a 6-month hiatus of Criminal and Civil trials and non-essential matters. Restoring access to justice is complicated by the pandemic-related state budget crisis. I am focused on leading the Superior Court of Los Angeles County with a commitment to restore safe access to justice while achieving a fair allocation of state funding to support the magnitude of our Court’s fundamental and essential functions.”
Judge-Elect Taylor also stated, “It has been an honor to assist [current] Presiding Judge [Kevin C.] Brazile as he tirelessly and courageously made decisions to lead our Court safely through this truly unprecedented [pandemic] crisis. Every decision he made was prioritized around protecting the public health and safety of all who use and work in our courts…”
Judge-Elect Taylor further stated, “I intend to build on our restoration of services with strategies designed to withstand further waves of COVID-19 as we enter into the pandemic’s second year,” Judge Taylor said. “We are fortunate in Los Angeles County that we have brilliant, creative and resilient jurists supported by our dedicated staff led by Executive Officer/Clerk of Court Sherri R. Carter. Together we have guided the Court through this crisis with rapid deployment of remote courtroom appearance technology in nearly 600 courtrooms while providing remote Clerk’s Office services to reduce courthouse traffic.”
The pandemic has caused budget problems for the State of California as well as the County of Los Angeles. Because of the $167.8 million cut to state trial court funding during the current fiscal year plus expected annual cost increases, the Court had to close an over $60 million deficit in this fiscal year’s budget through spending reductions and by exhausting all available reserves.
According to Judge Taylor, “We will do everything we can to restore our budget so as not to further impair court operations at a time when people need justice the most. We are acutely aware of the pain so many are enduring during this pandemic. A healthy society and economy depend on a healthy court system. I grew up in the Crenshaw District in Los Angeles, in a single-parent, small-apartment household, with very limited resources. I remember well the stresses on our family, and especially on my mother. I know that but for the courts, the most vulnerable among us would have no forum in which to pursue legal protections, equal rights and simply a place to be heard.”