Hall of Justice

Lost Jails of Downtown (Broadway On My Mind #17)

Hall of Justice

Venice, California 90291, United States

Created By: Los Angeles Visionaries Association


This is where we are going to talk about the Hall of Records.

It is the location of the Hall of Justice, 1925.

The Alhambra Hotel was next door as well.

Talk about the tunnels here too which were buit for the Hall of Records. Don't forget the tunnel of Doom.

And talk about the inscription on the Bridge of Sighs.

Talk about the vendetta which arose between City & County over HOJ & how it shaped Civic Center development

Breakdown of Departments in the HOJ on opening day:

From the top down, the HOJ had jail cells from the 14th to the 10th floor, clearly demarcated by the band of super colossal columns which runs along those floors. The ninth floor was reserved for court reporters and deliberating rooms for juries. The eight contained six departments of the Superior Court and three Justice Courts. The seventh held eight courtrooms for municipal court. The District Attorney, Grand Jury, Criminal Records, and County Clerk were on the sixth. The Public Defender and City Prosecutor were on the fifth. The fourth & third floors were reserved for the LAPD, but when budget estimates for construction in April of 1925 skyrocketed, the City of Los Angeles dropped out of the plan. The Sheriff's Department was housed on the second and main floor. What was called the first floor (really the first basement) was the receiving hospital for those taken into custody and the coroner's office and morgue.

The basement (really the second basement) was the cooling plant and transformer room. There was a 600 foot tunnel which was 12 feet by 12 feet, and ran from the HOJ to the Hall of Records. In addition to the electrical and steam lines, it had a passageway to transport prisoners to court rooms in the Hall of Records. It was known as the Tunnel of Doom. At the time of construction this tunnel was thought to just be the first in a series which would connect the burgeoning Civic Center complex. This was never realized.

Why Sheriff Traeger wanted an office on the ground floor.

Recount first escape (failed) by juvenile detainees.

Other famous escapes.

On December 5, 1922, it was reported that Clara had escaped from the county jail by cutting the bars of her cell, hoisting herself onto the roof of the building, and then shimmying down a drain pipe. The truth is Clara bribed a Sheriff’s Deputy with either cash or favors to unlock her cell door and turn a blind eye.

Clara was on the lam for over four months before she was discovered hiding out in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She was arrested and extradited to California, where she began serving her sentence at San Quentin.

1974: Pitchess makes this the modern Sheriff's Department. D.A. & Coroner gone.

Last major case tried in HOJ before Foltz Criminal Justice Courts open is Manson, 1970.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Lost Jails of Downtown (Broadway On My Mind #17)


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to changerequest@pocketsights.com.