Santa Clara Celebrates Start of Family Justice Center Construction

The Power of Persistence

One court's commitment to bring justice to Santa Clara County families

With over 200 community members in attendance, the Superior Court of Santa Clara County broke ground on July 16, 2013 on a new family courthouse – the first new courthouse in the state dedicated solely to family law. The new eight-story building will be located in downtown San Jose at the edge of historic St. James Park.

Playlist Features 6 Videos

An office building, and then a bank

Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Richard J. Loftus, Jr. called the road to building the new courthouse long and rocky.

“In 1989 the Loma Prieta earthquake shut down the family courthouse due to irreparable earthquake damage," said Judge Loftus."Family court services were first moved to an office building, and then a bank.” Over the years, additional facilities were added to help serve the needs of a growing public. Soon, family law services were scattered among six facilities.

Because of the state’s economic crisis, for a while it looked as if the new courthouse might lose its funding. “We were in very difficult economic times,” said Judge Loftus, “and we were left off the list of courthouse construction projects to be funded in the 2012–2013 state budget. We needed a miracle.”

The miracle came from the unified support of local leaders: state senators, assembly members, and county and city representatives who convinced the legislative and executive branches about the need for the project.

San Jose City Councilmember Sam Liccardo called the effort a powerful lesson in persistence. “In every instance, whether negotiating over land or parking spots for the new courthouse, those involved were not only passionate, but persistent: At stake: the thousands of families who rely on the courts in their greatest need.”

Commitment to law and justice

Presiding Judge Brian C. Walsh drew a parallel with the building of the historic courthouse across the street. “Over 150 years ago, during the Civil War, civic leaders were committed to building a much-needed courthouse for Santa Clara County residents, even though there was a crisis atmosphere around the issue of massive public debt.”

This crisis did not deter the 19th century community leaders. They persisted, and the courthouse was built.

“Good leaders see clearly the needs of their community,” Judge Walsh said. “Great leaders not only see those needs, but persist to meet them regardless of temporary impediments. Our children and families will be better off because of the persistence our community has shown in bringing us here today to the groundbreaking for the new Santa Clara Family Justice Center.”

Selected audio from the groundbreaking ceremony

Photo of retired Judge Jamie Jacobs-May
Judge Jamie Jacobs-May, Ret.
Superior Court of Santa Clara County
The Importance of Environment
audio icon Listen (1:11)

Photo of State Senator Jim Beall
Jim Beall, State Senator
A Family-Friendly Court
audio icon Listen (0:45)