San Joaquin County Small Claims Court Pinched With More Cutbacks

STOCKTON (CBS13) – A dozen clerks of the San Joaquin County Superior Court will be laid off at the end of the day Wednesday.

Readjusting resources means small claims court will feel the pain of justice delayed.

With only one person behind the counter, the wait at the small claims counter may soon get longer. And when you make it to the front of the line, you may soon be told your case won’t be heard anytime soon.

“It would concern me to file something and not have a hearing in an indeterminate way,” Frank Pacheco said.

Pacheco rushed to get in line before the clerk’s office closed at 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. He’s considered lucky – he secured a hearing for October.

“Prior to the cutbacks in the staff, we got things filed and heard quicker than we do know,” Pacheco said. “Now it takes quite a while to get something filed and heard.”

Budget cuts forced the court administrators to lay off 13 clerks. You can still file in small claims, but you may not get a court date until state funding is restored, and no one knows when that might happen.

Small claims is considered a special court where disputes are resolved quickly and inexpensively.

Quick though, may no longer be the case.

“I think they should restore the funding and get moving on the cases,” Pacheco said.

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