Saturday, September 30, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, September 30, 2023 | Back issues
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Out of the Box

I've never understood the concept of "thinking outside the box."

What's the big deal? Why would you want someone who's in a box solving problems?

Even with the foreclosure crisis, most of the people who live in boxes are on skid row and aren't great at original thinking. And even if a person doesn't live in a box, do you want to trust someone who goes into a box to reduce your deficit?

Of course not. People who get into boxes are either insane or household pets (whom I consider to be furry people).

Almost everyone thinks outside the box. You get more air that way. You don't necessarily get better ideas.

I am, however, a fan of unorthodox solutions. I have lots of those:

THE COURT CRISIS. Courts around the country are dealing with their budget crises by closing courtrooms, firing employees, and frustrating litigants with huge backlogs.

They're downsizing the wrong things.

Furlough laws, not people.

Instead of getting rid of a third of the workforce, get rid of a third of the things you can go to court over.

Family law is the first to go. (You thought I was going to say drug laws, but I'm perfectly sober when I write these things outside my box.)

Do we really need to waste all those judicial resources on people who should just split up already and stop yelling at each other? Get the state out of the business of sanctioning and unsanctioning marriages and require anyone with a serious domestic spat to turn it over to a panel of celebrities to make fun of it.

Traffic laws are next. Complete waste of judicial resources.

Traffic violators should be stopped, but tickets are not the way to go. A quick tasering should put a stop to most reckless driving. Or citizens could be presented with an "instant pay" option to keep indiscretions off their records.

You keep reputations intact and you bolster the bottom line.

Then do the drug laws. Getting hauled into court is such a buzz kill.

Getting rid of unnecessary laws solves the backlog problem. There are many answers for the money problem.

Start with the Jack Nicholson approach.

This has nothing to do with handling the truth. Think Staples Center. Jack, along with those other people in the first couple of rows at Lakers games, gets to sit there not because he's wonderful and shiny, but because he spends a lot of money.

A lot of money.

Courtside at Staples isn't cheap and the best seats in the courthouse shouldn't be cheap either.

If you want instant access to the best judge in the house, you fork over a couple of grand and get food service at the counsel table.

Yes, that's not equal access to justice. It's not fair.

Or is it?

Is it more fair to wait years in an understaffed courthouse when you could get to a fully-staffed court in a reasonable amount of time, spot celebrities, and maybe get glimpses of the luxury boxes?

Yes, luxury boxes. In downtown Los Angeles, you could put them on the top floor of the civil courthouse right next to the fine dining area with easy access to the press box. They'd pay for themselves.

And everyone can still enjoy the games - or the trials - from the cheap seats or on TV.

More solutions next week including "Leave a Child Behind," the housing crunch, how to stop census undercounting.

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