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Hall of Justice in Danger

9:11 AM PDT on July 30, 2006

Hall of Justice photo by Nailmaker

From the Times:

Mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel feasted on pheasant while under lockup there. Charles Manson, during his murder trial, unsuccessfully dangled string out his jail cell window to smuggle marijuana and a hacksaw. The bodies of Marilyn Monroe, Sharon Tate and Robert F. Kennedy were examined in its basement.

Today, 12 years after the Northridge earthquake shut it down, the hall on West Temple Street is home to pigeons and vermin that pass through its broken windows. The crumbs of decaying ceilings and walls cover the floor, and elevator shafts sit feet-deep in stagnant water. Outside, the Italian Renaissance facade is dulled by dust.

Now, a $16-million federal grant to retrofit the building could slip through the county's hands if it doesn't approve construction contracts by the end of the year, according to a civil grand jury report. The county has already filed for an extension, but even with the grant — a mere drop in the estimated $200-million fiscal bucket needed to revive the building — the building may never reopen.

Photo from Nailmaker

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