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California Judges to Lose Perks; Some May Leave State
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California Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court has voted unanimously not to review Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, which means judges in the nation’s largest county may lose up to $50,000 a year in perks.

The decision lets stand a lower court ruling that could void Los Angeles County’s 20-year practice of supplementing judges’ $178,000 salaries and state-provided benefits with perks that amount to almost $50 grand a year.

  
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The ruling by San Diego’s 4th District Court of Appeal held that the practice violated the state Constitution’s requirement that the Legislature “prescribe compensation for judges.” County-funded judicial perks occur in many of the state’s 58 counties, but LA’s appear to be the most lucrative.

Judicial advocates say the state already has trouble attracting judges to the bench, with salaries that often pale in comparison to those of major law firms.

The benefits package includes travel and professional development allowances that judges can take in cash, as well as additional contributions to retirement accounts.

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Some California judges have threatened to leave the state if the perks are cut.



 

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