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Rally to Support Adequate Court Funding

Will you be in San Francisco on Wednesday, April 18? Join LACBA at 12:00 Noon to Stand Up For Justice!

Dear Colleagues,

California's courts need our help desperately. Since 2008, the courts' budget has been slashed by over 30 percent, and is now threatened with further cuts. The result is court staff layoffs, shuttered courtrooms and long delays in civil justice. Without adequately-funded state courts, most Californians will have no access to justice. If the work of the courts grinds to a halt, the consequences for California are truly dire.

In the face of this justice crisis, LACBA continues to support our Courts every way we can. As part of that effort, LACBA is co-sponsoring a rally for adequate funding at the San Francisco City Hall at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, April 18. Details are available here.

I and other LACBA leaders will be there. If you'll be in the Bay Area on Wednesday, April 18, come to San Francisco City Hall at 12:00 noon and join the LACBA contingent showing support for our Courts!

No courts, no justice, no freedom. So, stand up for our courts. Stand up for justice.

Eric A. Webber

LACBA President Eric A. Webber's Comments from the Rally to Support Adequate Court Funding on January 18, 2012

As an Angelino and a lawyer, I'm here to stand up for justice – and for our courts.

Without adequately-funded courts, there will be no justice for millions of Californians. It's as simple as that: No courts, no justice.

As President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, I stand here for tens of thousands of lawyers who recognize that our courts are in jeopardy.

We're a diverse group: prosecutors, plaintiff's lawyers, criminal and civil defense lawyers, and lawyers on all sides of almost any kind of case you can think of. We represent individuals, families, and businesses large and small.

Despite our differences, we lawyers agree on two things:
  • First, our clients – whoever they are, and whatever side they're on – all need courts to dispense justice. If our courts can't dispense justice when it's needed, our clients' legal problems can't be resolved
  • Second, when the courts can't do their work, it has costly and damaging consequences for everyone in California. Not just for people using the courts right now, but for everyone.
The dangers of a failing court system are hard to see until it's too late. Whether or not you know it now, almost every Californian will need the courts at some point. Like police and fire protection, most of us don't know how much we need them until we really need them.

Justice means a fair and timely resolution for your grievance.

Real justice can't be "mass produced." It must be done by a court, after a fair hearing for all involved, based on the individual merits of the case. That's our system. And that system requires adequately-funded courts to work.

Without courts, Californians won't have justice when we need it.

No courts, no justice: The problem is real and urgent.

Because we lawyers work with the courts every day to help resolve our client's legal problems, we see the impact of court budget cuts firsthand.

So, we're sounding an alarm: California's courts are in serious trouble.

After four years of unprecedented budget cuts, our courts now struggle to deliver justice. It takes longer and longer for cases to be heard. Everything from divorces, adoption and child welfare matters to landlord/tenant and employment disputes take longer to resolve.

If our courts don't get more resources, the problem will get worse soon. As caseloads continue to grow with fallout from the economic downturn, the justice backlog is increasing every day. California's civil justice system is on the verge of grinding to a halt.

No courts, no justice: Here are some reasons all Californians should worry:
  • Without courts, laws and contracts can't be enforced – and become meaningless.
  • Without courts, civil rights and civil liberties need not be respected – and become empty promises.
  • Without courts, responsibilities need not be honored – and become hollow platitudes.
  • Without courts, restraining orders won't be issued – leaving victims of threats and violence, and others in need of protection, exposed to danger.
  • Without courts, divorce and child custody matters will drag on, and adoptions will be delayed – leaving children and families stuck in situations that are stressful, heart-wrenching and damaging.
  • Without courts, probate and estate matters will remain tied up – leaving families and loved ones waiting for closure in circumstances that are draining emotionally and financially.
  • Without courts, landlord-tenant matters, employment claims, business disputes and a host of other civil matters will linger unresolved – leaving individuals, families and businesses mired in uncertainty and delay.
  • Without courts, a host of grievances won't be heard – and will fester into growing frustration and anger.
No courts, no justice: California cannot afford to let that happen.

Justice delayed is justice denied. And justice denied has deeply corrosive impacts on our communities, our economy and our democracy. And the damage to California cannot be undone or easily corrected in the future
  • If businesses can't depend on the courts to enforce contracts and laws fairly and to resolve disputes timely, California becomes hostile to the job-creating engines of commerce we need.
  • If Californians can't have their grievances heard and find justice in the courts, more and more will turn to "self-help" remedies – "street justice." That jeopardizes public safety.
  • If the courts can't deliver justice, public frustration with and cynicism about government will only deepen.
No courts, no justice: That leads to "no justice, no law." To "no justice, no jobs." To "no justice, no peace."

We cannot let it come to that. So stand up our courts – and stand up for justice. Stand up for justice today, tomorrow and every day until our courts are assured of adequate funding.

No courts, no justice.

The Metropolitan News-Enterprise covered the event. Read their story by clicking here.

LACBA President Eric Webber's Letter Encouraging People to Attend the Rally

Dear Colleagues,

California's courts need our help. Since 2008, the courts' budget has been cut by nearly 30 percent, resulting in staff layoffs, shuttered courtrooms and long delays in civil justice. Without adequately-funded state courts, most Californians will have no access to justice. If the work of the courts grinds to a halt, the consequences for our communities are truly dire.

If lawyers won't stand up for justice, who will? I ask for 90 minutes of your time this coming Wednesday to show your support for our justice system.

As officers of the court, and advocates in our justice system, I call on each of you – attorneys and others in the legal profession - to join the "Rally to Support Adequate Court Funding" on Wednesday, January 18th from noon to 1:30 p.m. The rally takes place in downtown Los Angeles on Grand Avenue, in front of the Disney Concert Hall.

At the rally, you will join with leaders from around the state – including former Governors George Deukmejian and Gray Davis, retired California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, Assemblyman Michael Feuer and California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg – in a show of support for our state courts. To hear some of those leaders speak about the court funding crisis, click here for a 3-1/2 minute video.

So show up on Wednesday, January 18th – and stand up for justice. For more information about the "Rally to Support Adequate Court Funding," click here.


Eric A. Webber
President, Los Angeles County Bar Association