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San Francisco To Shutter Courtrooms, Lay Off Staff

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The San Francisco Superior Court has announced severe cutbacks, including the closure of 25 courtrooms and some 200 layoffs.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Katherine Feinstein called it a grim day for San Francisco courts.

"This is the saddest and most heart-wrenching day I have experienced in my professional life," she said.

KCBS' Barbara Taylor Reports:

Feinstein said the 40 percent staff cuts will mean a longer wait for people looking to file papers or pay tickets and fines. A divorce will take a year and a half to process instead of six months and there will be a five-year wait for a civil case to come to trial.

"This is just not right," said Feinstein. "This will be devastating to our 200 employees and their families, significantly damage the Bay Area economy and it will be tremendously harmful to the public we take pride in serving."

While criminal courts will remain intact, all but three civil trial courts will be closing on October 1.

The cuts are needed to close a $13.75 million deficit and Feinstein places the blame squarely on the governor and legislature. She said they have completely dismantled the state court system.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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