Town Square

Sheriff's plan to shutter Palo Alto Courthouse gets pushback

Original post made on Jun 3, 2022

Citing staffing shortages, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith plans to shut down the Palo Alto and Morgan Hill courthouses later this month.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 3, 2022, 9:57 AM


Posted by MarkW
a resident of University South
on Jun 3, 2022 at 11:50 am

MarkW is a registered user.

Reporters must closely investigate the real estate transactions for these courthouse properties. This reeks of a back door deal wherein a real estate developer directs money to Laurie Smith, legally or otherwise, in exchange for preferential access to the closed county properties. Sheriff Smith is no stranger to corruption (ref. “Santa Clara Co. Sheriff faces civil corruption charges that could lead to removal”,, Dec 21, 2021).

Posted by CEQA Required
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2022 at 12:14 pm

CEQA Required is a registered user.

It’s probably a good idea to temporarily shutter the Palo Alto Courthouse anyway with the ongoing police station construction on one side and the new Teacher Housing construction about to start on the other side of it at 231 Grant.

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2022 at 12:47 pm

eileen is a registered user.

CEQA, the courthouse was closed and just recently opened on May 2nd.
I think Smith is not talking about a temporary closure again.

This issue should be taken up with our PA City Council.
We need to have a courthouse near this important city too. San Jose is not close.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2022 at 1:28 pm

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Jury Duty for those of us in Palo Alto is a joke when having to get to San Jose! This is a big county - or feels it when called.

Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 3, 2022 at 1:42 pm

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Maybe the deputies are leaving because of the Sheriff.

Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2022 at 3:19 pm

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Smith’s decision is wrong and unpopular. She is on the way out and appears to want to flex her last gasp of power. The county of Santa Clara needs the courthouse to remain in Palo Alto to serve constituents. What was she ‘thinking?’

Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 3, 2022 at 4:01 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

So, has soon-to-be ex-Sheriff Smith already started her grievance and revenge tour? Just like a certain ex-"president"? What a dubious title for him. People like this seem to be into scorched earth policies when their undeserved, huge egos are severely bruised. Good riddance.

And kudos to Green Gables for emphasizing the obvious. And to Bystander for pointing out what an enormous hardship it is for up here to be forced to fight our way to downtown San Jose to do mandatory jury duty.

Posted by Banes
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jun 4, 2022 at 9:25 am

Banes is a registered user.

MarkW makes an interesting point. The greed is becoming unconscionable here in former sleepy PA, Even during the technology boom it was till a sleepy little city. With all the hefty property & business taxes the County can no longer afford what infrastructure & police services it had afforded through decades & countless recessions, booms & Busts? Perhaps it never should have been reopened in the first place?
This looks like an accounting problem, and clearly more polarized politics. Do none of the giant tech corporations pay local taxes? Google, Facebook WtF? Something is very queer here and needs extensive investigation.

Posted by David
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2022 at 5:36 pm

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If they are facing a shortage of personnel, it’s odd that the Sheriff would choose to stop serving the criminal courts in Palo Alto and Morgan Hill ahead of the traffic court in Santa Clara. The Santa Clara County Sheriff of all people should understand priorities.

Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2022 at 9:12 pm

JR is a registered user.

This smells of corruption and waste. Palo Alto is not being served well be Santa Clara County in several regards. Maybe it is possible for Palo Alto to branch off into its own county, The City and County of Palo Alto has a nice ring to it (similar to City and County of San Francisco).