Family court is closed again resulting from power issues

SAN JOSE — The Family Justice Center courthouse in downtown San Jose might be closed for the primary half of Monday as an ongoing power struggle to revive full power to the constructing following an initial equipment failure in March.

Since then, Santa Clara County Superior Court has relied on generators to take care of operations on the North First Street location. However, these have failed at various points, resulting in shutdowns over the past two months. Court calendars were moved to other courthouses in the world, including the Downtown Superior Court constructing across the road.

Adding to the headaches was the court's assertion that it didn’t get PG&E so as to add the courthouse to its reopening calendar, even after the court ordered repairs that had been accomplished since April 20 were.

“The court is awaiting reconnection from PG&E to restore a permanent power source to the Family Justice Center courthouse,” said Lisa Herrick, deputy executive director and general counsel for the Supreme Court. “The court has been working for weeks to restore connectivity to PG&E, which remains the only obstacle to restoring a permanent source of power.”

Monday's closure means morning calendars on the FJCC might be postponed or kept dark; The court plans to have a fourth generator running by noon, meaning the afternoon calendar, which begins at 1:30 p.m., is anticipated to start as planned.

At least for the morning, services on the self-help center and court office will again be relocated to the downtown courthouse at 191 North First St. The same applies to nursing matters which can be transferred to Department 1; Family matters in Departments 66, 71 and 74 are handled in Departments 3, 8 and 10 respectively.

Criminal cases normally handled in Divisions 60 and 62 might be moved to the Hall of Justice at 190 West Hedding St. in Divisions 27 and 29, respectively.

According to the court, on March 4, the FJCC constructing's essential connection to a PG&E transformer failed, and it was estimated that it will take 4 to 6 weeks for parts to switch the damaged equipment to reach.

As a stopgap measure, a generator was installed on March 7, but it surely failed, resulting in a 30-minute closure of the court on April 3. On April 15, the generator failed again, prompting court officials to completely close the court for the primary time and move proceedings to nearby courthouses.

Another generator was installed, but its loud operating noise led to complaints from nearby residents and businesses. Because of the noise, the court decided last weekend to shut down the courthouse and install a 3rd, quieter generator. But it failed early Monday, resulting in the newest court closure.

This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.

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