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Capturing time in a capsule at L.A. County Hall of Justice

  • Alternative to A VIP escort accompanies the time capsule on its way to installation.
    A VIP escort accompanies the time capsule on its way to installation.
  • Alternative to After a short ceremony, the capsule is positioned in the Hall of Justice cornerstone,
    After a short ceremony, the capsule is positioned in the Hall of Justice cornerstone,
  • Alternative to Sealing up history: the time capsule won't be removed until 2116.
    Sealing up history: the time capsule won't be removed until 2116.
  • Alternative to Photos from original time capsule installation in 1925 were on display.
    Photos from original time capsule installation in 1925 were on display.
  • Alternative to Flag from original 1925 time capsule will become part of new Sheriff's museum collection.
    Flag from original 1925 time capsule will become part of new Sheriff's museum collection.


With a nod to the past and an eye on the future, officials installed a time capsule in Los Angeles County's historic Hall of Justice, to be reopened in the year 2116.

Contemporary items placed in the box for future generations range from ceremonial "challenge" coins and County reports to a bumper sticker promoting the "Safe Surrender" program and a handwritten note from District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

At a brief ceremony before the time capsule's July 7 installation, Lacey quipped that future generations may roll their eyes at our 21st century gizmos. "No doubt, what we consider high technology today will be laughed at in the future—like we chuckle at those old lunchbox-sized mobile phones," she said. In a more serious vein, she added, "It truly is my hope that when this time capsule is opened, that our generation’s efforts—fighting for justice—have paid off. That this county and the criminal justice system are better."  

Sheriff Jim McDonnell also put on his futurist's hat and mused about which technological marvels might be commonplace a century from now: Would driverless cars put an end to high-speed chases and DUIs? Could 3-D imaging software let investigators and jurors "walk" through a crime scene?

But the human factor will never be replaced, he concluded: "Our human intellect and intuitiveness and passion for innovation will always be at the core of what makes our criminal justice system great."

The Hall of Justice reopened in 2014 after a widely-acclaimed renovation and restoration following years of closure after the Northridge earthquake. This video offers an in-depth look at the iconic building's transformation. And for a look back at what an earlier generation of Angelenos left behind, check out this video about the 1925 time capsule that was reopened in 2014.