San Jose

Justice Comes to ‘Grinding Halt' as Clerks Strike in Day 2

As the Superior Court clerks strike entered day two Thursday, business inside the Hall of Justice in San Jose was coming to "a grinding halt," according to one prosecutor.

The picket line returned outside the courthouse Thursday as members of the Superior Court Professional Employees Association protested in the name of more pay and better staffing. They say they haven't had a raise in eight years.

Inside, as judges and other Santa Clara County employees scrambled to fill in and a backlog of cases continued to build.

"It was tough," said Muchelle Vasquez, deputy public defender. "It was tough in there without them. We rely on them."

In Department 24, judges struggled to process some of the county’s most serious cases. Vasquez said one judge was asking what color copy of an order to give to defendants and where to write the fines on a form.

For families of defendants, the strike is equally frustrating. Latonya McNary, who was there for her son, said it was a wasted a day in court because judges could not address their case.

"That’s my son. My son’s case," McNary said. "They need them in there."

The strike is not endangering to public safety, court officials said. Arraignments are being held so no inmates are being released prematurely.

The court has not commented on the strike, and no new negotiations have been scheduled.

The clerks, meanwhile, say they are in for the long haul.

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