All felony and misdemeanor cases will be transferred to Lamont later this year

The Taft courthouse is going to be, for all intents and purposes, closed for criminal cases later this year, the Taft Midway Driller has learned.

Numerous sources said court employees were notified late Thursday afternoon that all criminal proceedings will be transferred to other courts and that local jobs will be eliminated.

It is not known how many will be allowed to transfer or how many will lose their jobs.
Four District Supervisor David Couch said Friday morning that people charged in Taft will now appear in the courthouse in Lamont, where there are two courtrooms.

The Taft court will be in operation on Friday only for civil matters, small claims court, traffic cases and juvenile court.

That means every one charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Taft will now have to travel to Lamont to appear in court.

Kern County Supervisors were briefed Friday morning on the cuts that came down from the state.

All superior courts are funded through the state but operated by the counties.

Couch's office said today that Kern County was notified that it would lose about $3.7 million in funding, forcing consolidation of some courts.

Employees were notified of the changes at 4 p.m. Thursday.

They are tentatively scheduled to take place on Sept. 1, the Driller was told.

The shutdown of the local court could have major effects on local law enforcement agencies, as police and Sheriff's deputies will now have to travel to Lamont for all court proceedings.

Check for details as more information becomes available.