For most of the 20th Century, one building was synonymous with crime and punishment in Los Angeles County, downtown L.A.’s Hall of Justice. The building, which opened in 1925, was where both the county’s D.A. and sheriff had their offices. The mammoth building saw some of Southern California’s most infamous criminals held and put on trial, from 1930’s era gangsters and gunmen to more modern serial killers. Because the basement of the building is where L.A. County’s morgue and coroner’s office were located, the Hall of Justice is also where generations of Angelenos ended up after they died, including Marilyn Monroe and Robert F. Kennedy.
But for two decades, the Hall of Justice, just across the street from L.A.’s City Hall, has sat empty and shuttered, a casualty of a natural disaster that struck Southern California in 1994. But the building is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation project and will soon reopen.
Below KCRW gets a tour of the building, learning more about its colorful past and future.