By Leon Worden/SCVNews.com
The Santa Clarita Superior Court will no longer handle felony matters after Sept. 12, and two of the District Attorney’s eight locally stationed prosecutors will move to the San Fernando Courthouse as a result, officials confirmed Thursday.
A court spokeswoman said she was unaware of the reasons for the cutbacks in Santa Clarita but said additional changes are expected.
“The courts are changing a lot of things due to budgetary restrictions statewide,” Superior Court spokeswoman Kathy Roberts said, noting that the San Francisco court system cut nearly one-third of its staff for that reason.
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The Santa Clarita Courthouse became a Superior Court facility in 1998 when the county’s municipal and superior court systems merged. A short time later, felony trials for suspects who committed crimes in Santa Clarita moved to San Fernando.
But the Santa Clarita courts continued to hold felony preliminary hearings, as well as arraignments for suspects in custody.
That changes Sept. 12 when the San Fernando courthouse begins to handle Santa Clarita’s prelims and arraignments.
“New and existing cases will be filed and heard at San Fernando,” Roberts said. “Cases set for a preliminary hearing on or after the 12th will be held in Department F in San Fernando.”
She said the L.A. Superior Courts implemented staff reductions over the past year due to the budget, particularly in the traffic courts.
“More changes will be coming,” she said.
District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said the court change means prosecutors in the DA’s Santa Clarita office will handle only misdemeanor cases and traffic issues after Sept. 12.
Eight prosecutors work out of the local office today. Two of them will move their offices to San Fernando, she said.