Judicial Council Releases Agenda for January 21st Meeting

The Judicial Council released the agenda for its meeting to be held January 21st in San Francisco and there were a couple things I noticed right off the bat.  The first concerned court closures and the second had to do with public comment.

In what should come as no surprise to anyone, the JC is recommending that the courts continue with court closures for the rest of the fiscal year, which is through June of 2010.  Again, this shouldn’t come as a shock.  There was no way in h-e-double hockey sticks the JC was going to cancel court closures.  They’re claiming the court closures have helped the courts to make up for the lost budgetary funds.  And any move on the JC’s part to cancel the court closures would have been seen as an admission by the JC that it did wrong by the people of California.  The JC and its bureaucratic arm, the AOC, admitting wrong ain’t gonna happen.

The second thing I noticed is that the public comment portion of the meeting, in which people would have the opportunity to voice their opinions on “Trial Court Budget Issues,” is a whopping…are your ready for this?…wait for it…wait for it….10 minutes. That’s right. Those of you who wish to question the JC and the AOC about “Trial Court Budget Issues” will have all of 10 minutes to do so. The lunch break at half an hour is longer than the time for public comment. And what will the JC do if speakers run past the 10 minutes? Release the hounds?

You can read the agenda for yourselves by click here.

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54 responses to “Judicial Council Releases Agenda for January 21st Meeting

  1. Composite Knuckles

    My question is this: Is no one empowered to investigate the AOC or to remove people for incompetence? This blog has revealed everything from (1) use of unlicensed contractors, (2) illegal acceptance of gifts, (3) Deloitte Consulting using lobbyists during the period the no-bid contract was signed, (4) embezzlement of public funds (which Mr. Vickrey admitted to the Legislature actually occurred). How far down the rabbit hole are you judges willing to go?

    • Former AOC Supporter

      I think in all honesty the answer is no. This is why the ACJ, the unions and others have been begging the legislature to step in and pass appropriate laws that would provide for oversight. At a minimum the Judicial Council should be democratically elected.

  2. Well it is nice to see that the JC will be meeting from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm- this despite the significant issues that are confronting the California court system. One would think the court closure issue alone would take considerably more time to discuss than 45 minutes given the significant adverse impacts the closures cause the public we serve. One should also ask who sets these somewhat arbitrary limitations on time to discuss issues of this importance? Sadly in the end the court closures will continue and little or no debate will occur at the JC. We need to continue to press respectfully for positive change and that change starts with an elected JC representing all 58 California Counties and the citizens we serve .

    • Yesterday the Alliance of California Judges made a formal request to address the Council at the upcoming meeting. The AOC has acknowledged receipt of the request. The California Rules of Court vest sole authority to grant or deny the request in Justice Richard Huffman of the Executive and Planning Committee. The Rules of Court require notification to ACJ of the decision within two days of the meeting. Whatever the response, be assured that the ACJ will be at the meeting.

      Anyone wishing to make a similar request must do so four days prior to the meeting. Since Monday is a holiday, and Wednesday a forced closure, I assume that today would be the last day to do so.

      Thank you.
      Chuck Horan

      • Judge Horan, I certainly hope you are accorded the opportunity to speak on behalf of ACJ. It would appear to me that the CCMS expenditures (approx. $500 M so far and expected $45 M more for the remainder of this fiscal year) are the primary factor in causing court closures. If you get the opportunity to speak, you can safely represent to the JC that automation of court data and sharing it with others could be done for a few million dollars. Judge Hamlin in Fresno, also an ACJ member, has more detailed information on the subject. I sincerely wish you the best of luck on this.

  3. I’m with Knuckles. Do people need to set themselves on fire?

    1:00 to 1:30 Closed Session—Discussion Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege

    Oh to be a fly on the wall.

  4. Access2Justice

    AOC Watcher wrote:

    “Those of you who wish to question the JC and the AOC about “Trial Court Budget Issues” will have all of 10 minutes to do so.”

    The JC/AOC answering questions put to them by the shrill and uninformed public? I think not. They merely allow the rabble to get up for a moment and make a statement. They hardly bother to mask their boredom or pretend to listen. But it allows them to later say, “Hey, nothing secret going on here. We even gave the public an opportunity to comment.”

    And I always find it interesting that the public comment comes at the beginning of the meeting…..before the topics open for comment have even been discussed. Nothing like “commenting” in a vacuum……

  5. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Translation:

    Regardless of the outcry of the public and every trial court across the state, the AOC is recommending and continuing to recommend to the Judicial Council that they keep the courts closed.

    While we can’t actually prove to anyone we’re saving any money with these court closures and our own internal studies show that we’re losing revenue as a result of these closures, it continues to be the right thing to do to ‘send a message to Sacramento’ to fully fund the branch or expect more of the same.

    On another subject, while we realize that these higher fees, fines and penalty assessments are uncollectable in the current economy of over 10% unemployment and thousands of licenses are being automatically suspended every month, those companies charged to engage in enhanced collections aren’t producing any enhanced collections despite the steep bounties given to them in the form of civil assessments because the people that cannot afford to pay simply cannot afford to pay. Additionally, the companies engaged in these enhanced collections are still not doing anything to collect on these accounts because they all know that the suspensions carry more weight than the 500.00 civil assessments being levied to pay the collection agencies even more money.

    And lastly, rather than air our dirty laundry in public, we intend to have a closed session from 1-1:30 so that we can express our views of all that has become public and offer our own private spin without the possibility of being confronted regarding all of the lies we will be forwarding as a plausible explanation of our unlawful activity.

  6. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Someone ought to make a good study of the AOC report to the legislature about enhanced collections.

    What I read into it is that enhanced collections has resulted in collecting an additional 10% of 5.5 billion dollars. If a court exec was sharp, they might be able to make the case to the legislature that bringing collections in-house instead of sending it out to one of the AOC’s pre-approved collection agencies (whose standard is to call at least 10% of debtors whose debt exceeds 360 days? What’s up with that?)

    Credit card companies charge off debt within 4-6 months and it’s widely recognized that the issuance of warrants and suspensions of licenses does far more to collect on the debts than any other measure. Furthermore, the minute you send the debt out to a collection agency, you remove off the table the possibility that those whose means does not afford them the ability to pay can serve any form of an alternative sentence. Programs that stay in the courts, programs where the courts themselves is aggressive on sending out dunning letters and possibly adding interest (10% annual) as opposed to civil assessments would result in better collections.

    Do you REALLY want to recover lots of that 5.5 billion dollars in outstanding debt really fast?

    Send out a civil assessment amnesty to all perps if they subscribe to a 12 month program to pay off their fines – and unsuspend them if they make 3 consecutive payments under the program.

    Debtor psychology says collections will go up by over 30%. God knows the state can use the money – and at the same time perps can get legal.

    Gartner group is totally the wrong group to commission a study on collections. For that, you have to go to a perp and find out what motivates them.

    Ability to pay and other non-monetary options to pay a debt to society, such as litter pick-up or nonprofit community service are options that people in this kind of economy need, not $500.00 civil assessments that are added to tickets they can’t afford to pay.

  7. Comments on the agenda –

    Any discussion of court closures must also include a discussion continued CCMS funding. The JC should ask the AOC to disclose its funding plan for the deployment of the system. Unless the AOC can show it has sufficient funding to fully deploy the system in all 58 counties, the project should be suspended and money budgeted for CCMS be made available for court operations.

    A similar analysis needs to performed with regard to SB 1407. Is it necessary to begin multi-million dollar construction projects when courts literally do not have enough money to keep the doors of courthouses open? The bonds have not been issued and the state treasurer is in no hurry to do so. While SB 1407 funds may not have been originally intended for operations, the legislature has already authorized/mandated the use of for operations. There is over $400 million in SB 1407 funds. At least a portion of this amount should be diverted to court operations to keep courts open.

    These issues don’t exist in a vacum. They are interrelated and the JC needs to establish funding priorities in the context of all available resources. The AOC/JC frames the issue as whether closures should continue. The real issue is whether keeping courts open should be a funding priority over other projects such as CCMS and court construction. Until the JC analyzes the problem in this context, it cannot say that the chose closing courts as a last resort.

    The recognitition of OCCM. Isn’t this the same department whose failure to verify either of the contractors it hired to perform courthouse maintenance were licenced as was required by the contract itself? Isn’t this the same department that allowed its contractors to violate public contracting law?

    Seems odd. But it also seems odd to give the most highly paid employees in the organization a 10% raise in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the 1930’s and using retention as a rationale when unemployment is over 10% in California. And those employees now make about $20K/year more than a Superior Court judge. And one of those employees has been responsible from day one for an IT project that may become legendary as a failure in the state’s long history of failed IT projects.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      Re: The Recognition of OCCM.

      Rather than indicting the bastards the AOC is reognising them for their achievement!

      Oh the irony…. Maybe if they blew a billion dollars with unlicensed contractors rather than the 300 million that’s being tossed around they would be getting gold medals.

      This is the new face of the California Justice System.

      “Serving the courts by rewarding malfeasance for the benefit of all Californians”

  8. The Council also needs to be cognizant that the Legislature is in no mood to do the judicial branch any favors. In fact, they are now clearly aware of how reckless (and harmful to the state) the AOC’s decisions were regarding funding for CCMS.

  9. I have given thought to attending this Judicial Council meeting, but am in a lengthy trial whose conclusion is already being delayed by the forced closure day next Wednesday. I cannot see telling the jurors there will be a further delay so that I can attend the JC meeting, even for such a vitally important the topic is.

    If the Judicial Council had scheduled this meeting for the closure day, then more judges could attend without court business being delayed any more than it already has been by the forced closures. The cost of keeping the Judicial Council chambers open must be minuscule compared to the cost associated with delaying the hearings and trials which are put on hold so that judges (including those on the Judicial Council) can attend this meeting.

    Oh well, if wishes were fishes the Judicial Council never would have voted to force statewide mandatory court closures on each and every one of the local courts. Instead, each body of locally elected judges would handle the matter as appeared best for their local communities.

    That is why we are elected locally, isn’t it?

    Tim Fall
    Judge, Yolo Superior Court

  10. justinianscode

    We keep hearing that the Judicial Council is the “policy making body” for the Judicial Branch. The California Constitution, though, provides in Art. 6, sec. 6:

    “(d) To improve the administration of justice the council shall survey judicial business and make recommendations to the courts, make recommendations annually to the Governor and Legislature, adopt rules for court administration, practice and procedure, and perform other functions prescribed by statute. The rules adopted shall not be inconsistent with statute.”

    Survey, recommend, adopt rules and “perform other functions prescribed by statute” does not sound like policy making to me.

    If the Judicial Council really wants to act as a policy maker, though, it should do what real policy makers do: devote more than 45 minutes of the agenda to a subject as important as whether to close down the courts; hold public hearings with public comment and testimony; engage in public debate; lead your administrative staff, and don’t be led by them. These are just a few things that the Judicial Council members, singly and together, should start doing if they want to be taken seriously as “policy makers.”

    Then again, maybe they shouldn’t. Our State Constitution says they are to “make recommendations to the courts,” not run them. That would really be faithful fulfillment of their constitutional authority.

    • Wendy Darling

      If the administrative body has already gotten together before the meeting and predetermined what the outcome will be, then any motivation to discuss the issues or hear public comment or even reconsider the predetermined result has been rendered meaningless. All the Judicial Council is looking for at this meeting is self-validation and anything inconsistent with that, from the Council’s perspective, is not only unnecessary but also unwelcome.

  11. It will be interesting to see if J Huffman will “grant” the ACJ’s request to address the council. Common sense said he would be a fool not to, given the current enviornment. However, this will be a the real test to see just how arrogant J Huffman and the CJ are. That being said, no doubt if the request is granted, as access2justice says, the JC will merely fein interest then on to the next topic. Even so, I think it is great that the Alliance is attempting to be at the meeting and that the JC needs to hear what they are going to say wheather they like it or not. It would also be interesting if someone on the Council uses the terms “shrill and uniformed”.

  12. It would be a grave error for the Judicial Council/AOC to deny anyone who has requested to speak during the public comment section. Public comment sections are intended to allow people to invoke their right to freedom of speech and express their ideas and opinions and be heard by government decision-making bodies. Can you imagine the JC denying people their right to freedom of speech?!?! Additionally, it IS a radical departure to require people to, in advance, request to speak and submit their comments in writing beforehand. Everywhere else you attend the meeting, fill out the card stating you intend to speak and you get to speak. It may be for a limited time, but everyone gets to speak. That is the point.

    • justinianscode

      The First Amendment says we have the right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” I always thought addressing government bodies at public meetings was one of the main ways we have to exercise that right.

      Does Judicial Council procedure not provide for exercising that First Amendment right in a meaningful way? If so, they should change that. (The procedure, not the First Amendment.)

      • Obi-Wan Kenobi

        You’ll have better luck with them changing the first amendment rather than the procedure.

        This is why a democratically elected judicial council whose power is not concentrated in two people (CJ and Huffman) is so important. What I find a little shocking is flying these people in from all over the state for a two hour dog and pony show.

        That’s responsible governance?

        Let’s hope that the room is filled beyond capacity with judges and court execs from around the state along with state assemblymembers and state senators and that Assemblymember Jones and Senator Corbett (both of our elected representatives that sit on the judicial council) show up and cry foul.

        If you haven’t contacted these legislators we request that you sit down and write them a letter or give them a phone call – and follow up.

        Senator Corbett in particular rarely attends these meetings and given the grave state of affairs over at the AOC she should be.

        By now we have to believe they have been inundated by many and well informed of what is happening at the AOC and any lesser response would call into question the legitimacy of a whole branch of government that would otherwise appear to be governed by just two individuals.

  13. Ah,,,,yeah,,,,,I can see the JC denying people the freedom of speech. Just by the mere fact that most members of the JC are afraid to speak out (or are chosen to be on the JC because they agree with the party line) for fear of retribution is denying people free speech.

  14. Nathaniel Woodhull

    When you are working out of the Soviet play book, free speech is not much of a concern. The Judicial Council does not wish to hear contrary opinions, because that might force them to acknowledge that there are contrary opinions.

  15. Nathaniel Woodhull

    By the way, did you see that the AOC and JC are now in the parole business? Take a look at 2009 CA S.B. 18C – Ducheny. Corrections. Absolutely mindblowing. It is difficult to provide the public with Constitutionally mandated services due to funding and closures and now we are going to start and supervising parole courts??????????

    • Composite Knuckles

      NW: Within the bill, here is where the Council actually has a discretionary role:

      SEC. 58. The Judicial Council shall consider the adoption of appropriate modifications to the Criminal Rules of Court, and of other judicial branch policies, procedures, and programs, affecting felony probation services that would support implementation of the evidence-based probation supervision practices described in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 1228) of Title 8 of Part 2 of the Penal Code.

  16. We really have fallen down a rabbit hole. The issue of court closures effects all Californians- it denies access to the courts, it hurts our loyal and dedicated employees, it creates calendar havoc, it penalizes jurors and may cost more than it can ever save as the work just piles up to another day.As has been aired out here , there are certainly other alternatives to court closures that should be considered including letting each local court determine what is best for the citizens they serve . Thus it is incredible that the JC will only allow a total of 10 minutes for all members of the public to offer their views on this very important issue- 10 minutes. Is there any other part of our great democracy that imposes such limitations on the public’s right to be heard?This is why concentrating judicial power in the CJ’s handpicked JC needs to be changed and democratized ! this is yet another example of why we need to work for positive change and encourage the legislature to create a democratic JC .

  17. Thanks Woodhull for your many cogent comments here. I learned about this whole parole morass recently and couldn’t believe the JC is now involved in creating 7 regional courts to oversee parole violations. This raises a number of significant questions, including when did the JC approve of this , who is paying for the cost of this , how many new AOC employees will be hired to deal with this, at what JC meeting was the concept of regional courts approved and why in light of all our other financial problems is it the JC’s and courts responsibility to oversee the thousands on parole?

  18. Composite Knuckles

    The parole courts are a pet project of Roger Warren, AOC scholar in residence. Much like the governance policies, I think you may be hard pressed to find any Judicial Council approval of regional courts.

  19. You so right Composite- I am guessing we will never see JC minutes where this expansive and power grabbing concept of regional courts is discussed and approved. Scholars and residence? Thats another great question- how many of them are there and how much are the taxpayers paying for them?Just asking!

  20. FYI regarding Roger Warren. Someone else may know but I think he is paid by the National Center for State Courts (which is apparently driving California policy).

    http://nicic.org/Downloads/PDF/Library/023358.pdf

  21. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Cut sheet from stanford.edu

    ROGER K. WARREN
    Judge Roger K. Warren is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Justice at Stake Campaign,
    a national, non-partisan coalition of state and national organizations working to keep our
    nation’s courts fair and impartial. Judge Warren also serves as Scholar-in-Residence at the
    California Judicial Council where he coordinates a number of projects to improve the
    administration of justice in California. He also serves as President Emeritus of the National
    Center for State Courts, the national judicial reform organization that he led as President
    and Chief Executive Officer from 1996 to 2004. He continues to direct several National
    Center projects, including a national project on state sentencing reform.
    Previously, Judge Warren served for over twenty years as a trial judge in Sacramento,
    California—serving during that time as the Presiding Judge of the Sacramento Municipal
    Court, Presiding Judge of the Appellate Department of the Sacramento Superior Court,
    Presiding Judge of the Sacramento Juvenile Court, Presiding Judge of the Sacramento
    Superior Court, and as the first Presiding Judge of the Consolidated Sacramento Superior
    and Municipal Courts. Judge Warren received the California Jurist of the Year award in 1995,
    and Sacramento Judge of the Year awards in the years 1987, 1993 and 1994. He was
    appointed by the Chief Justice of California to represent the California judiciary on the
    California Constitution Revision Commission and to serve on the California Judicial Council
    where he served as Chair of the Judicial Council Planning Committee and was the Founding
    Chair of the statewide Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee.
    He is the recipient of a number of national awards including from the Justice Management
    Institute in 2005, the National Conference of Court Public Information Officers in 2002, the
    National Association of State Judicial Educators in 2001, and the American Judges
    Association in 1996. As Presiding Judge of the Sacramento trial courts, Judge Warren
    received awards from the California Judicial Council for Sacramento’s voluntary
    consolidation of its trial courts and for his creation and leadership of the Sacramento
    Criminal Justice Cabinet, a justice system improvement entity consisting of the leaders of
    Sacramento’s criminal and juvenile justice agencies. Upon his retirement from the
    Sacramento courts in 1996, Sacramento juvenile justice agencies created the “Judge Roger
    K. Warren Unity Award” which is presented annually in his honor to recognize outstanding
    efforts to promote collaboration among the public and private agencies serving children in
    Sacramento.
    Prior to his appointment to the bench Judge Warren served as the Executive Director of
    Legal Services of Northern California. He graduated from Williams College, and received a
    Master’s Degree in political science and JD degree in law from the University of Chicago,
    where he served as an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. He served on a
    Fulbright Fellowship to Iran in 1964.

    __________________________
    From the AOC – courtinfo.ca.gov/presscenter/newsreleases/NR24-05.PDF

    Other past scolars in residence include Clark Kelso and Larry Sipes – each of whom only served a year.

  22. Composite Knuckles

    Thank you Mary. This blurb at the end of that NCIC report has an interesting elevation for Mr. Warren:

    Judge Roger K. Warren is President Emeritus of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). He served as President and CEO of the NCSC from March 1996 until September 2004. As President Emeritus, Judge Warren continues to serve Of Counsel to the NCSC and direct several major NCSC projects. Judge Warren also serves as Scholar-in-Residence at the California Supreme Court and Chair of the Board of Directors of Justice at Stake, a non-partisan coalition of state and national organizations working to keep our nation‘s courts fair, impartial, and independent. He previously served as a judge on the Sacramento (California) Superior Court from 1976 to 1996.

    Does anyone on the California Supreme Court consider Roger Warren their scholar in residence? Sheesh.

  23. Judge Fall raises a great point re: holding the JC meeting on a closure day rather than a Thursday. Although, I believe the JC committees meet the day before in closed sessions with AOC staff. Of course, I am not sure those meetings are necessary or appropriate. I don’t think those type of meetings are allowed in other branches of govenment. They could also be held via conference call or WebEX and it would not be necessary to incur the expense of putting the out of town members up in SFO for the night.

    I really hope someone on the JC has the courage to ask some questions that go beyond the issue of closures. I don’t know how the AOC/JC can say closures are a last resort measure if all options have not been considered. There has to be an analysis of existing available resources – CCMS, SB 1407, etc. and all areas where cost savings could be achieved – programs, staff, any function funded by TCTF or general fund money, before closures can truly be considered a “last resort” measure.

    If it means suspended judicial educuation programs and statewide administrative meetings for a year or until the budget stabilizes, laying off AOC staff, etc., those measures should at least be considered by the JC and branch before closures are continued.

    I think the closures were oringinally floated more as a political ploy to send some type of a message to the legislature about how bad things had become. The problem with that is the legislature is way ahead of the branch when it comes to playing politics and I am not sure the strategy will yield the results desired.

    There has to be a comprehensive review of the branch’s budget and to look at closures in a vacum will not give the JC or the courts the perspective needed to effectively address the problem.

  24. So true, moneywatcher. And not only is the Legislature way ahead of the branch, so is the press. Questions and revelations about the Shapiro fund & other individuals who have given monetary or other donations to the Chief or Mr. Vickrey — without any public disclosure that comports with state law — are going to lead to a giant mess.

  25. PRINCE RICHARD AND THE TEN MINUTE RULE:

    How is this going to work? One speaker for 10 minutes? Three speakers for 3.33 minutes each? Ten speakers for one minute each?

    Omerta has timed the following statements, amongst others: you waste taxpayer’s money; you hide facts; you fire good people who tell the truth; you have wasted millions if not billions on CCMS; CCMS does not work; you hire unlicensed contractors; you are buildling courthouses that cannot be staffed; you attack the press without justification; you have not disclosed gifts made to you; you are undemocratic; in the name of God, go.

    No statement takes more than 10 seconds even when one adds time to adjust the microphone.

    So, the judges, the press, and the public have a total of 60 speakers they can line up. Finding 60 speakers, all who will say something different, is not going to be a problem.

    So stop complaining.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      ~just laughs~

      If you think he became unglued after Judge Vicencia spoke calling for modest oversight, maybe we should have SFFD paramedics on hand for the coronary & vein popping that would result if he permitted any of the more serious dissenters to speak.

      Then again, maybe others on the Judicial Council will realize the nose ring they’re expected to wear isn’t all that comfortable and rise in rebellion and in solidarity with the rest of California.

      It could happen. I doubt it but it could….

    • Wendy Darling

      How about “You should all be completely ashamed of yourselves and for the public good you all need to tender your resignations from the Judicial Council immediately.”

  26. Reader of the Complaint

    Mary: I agree that California policy appears to be driven by the policy at the National Center for State Courts. My recollection is that CJ George used to be the president there.

  27. There is overlap on a number of issues, once you start investigating and using the Internet: for example, from Maryland.

    http://www.courts.state.md.us/procurement/pdfs/2007/amend2k07703625.pdf

    (Question from Deloitte to Maryland in regards to an RFP for an integrated statewide case management system): If NCSC has been involved, would such involvement preclude it form participating in a response to this RFP of in the services resulting from this project?

    (Answer from Maryland): State of Maryland ethics laws prohibit a perspective vendor from assisting in the creation or development of specifications and thereafter competing in the resulting procurement for goods and services.

  28. Composite Knuckles

    Deloitte & Touche have been major donors to the NCSC. The rotten cheese is stinking so bad inside the AOC now that rats in other states are beginning to smell it.

    • I did not think of that. Deloitte was working with NCSC to get state contracts. I guess the Scholar-in-Residence really does get to wheel some deals witthin the AOC using his “contacts.” Was Mr. Warren the scholar in June 2007 when the no-bid contract was signed with Deloitte?

      • Obi-Wan Kenobi

        Since 2005.

        From the AOC – courtinfo.ca.gov/presscenter/newsreleases/NR24-05.PDF

        Other past scolars in residence include Clark Kelso and Larry Sipes – each of whom only served a year.

    • Then the appearance of corruption is growing and growing. Thanks.

      • Obi-Wan Kenobi

        You should take a better look at the NCSC membership. You can tie all sorts of AOC’ers directly to NCSC, including sole source sheila.

        It’s not a coincidence.

    • There are very few coincidences when forces combine to ensure a $95 million no-bid contract is approved. There also is an emerging fact pattern (between not caring about unlicensed contractors, or failing to report gifts and donations) that is getting harder and harder to ignore.

  29. Interesting that Larry Sipes was a scholar in residence and did any of you notice that his wife started working at the AOC then as well? Also, (according to NCSC staff at the time) Larry Sipes basically got booted from NCSC because staff hated him and the morale was so bad.

    Do ya think the AOC picked him up as scholar in residence because of Bill V’s relationship with Dale(rest her soul)? And don’t forget that Mr. Sipes wrote the history of the California Courts for the AOC which it published hard bound thank you very much, and gave away at a CEO/PJ conference. But I am sure the public snapped enough copies to make it a worthwhile/meaningful effort for the AOC.

    And regionalized courts? That is Bill V’s dream from establishing that model in Utah and it suits the CJ just fine so he can appoint the regional PJs and CEOs (or whatever they will be called). Democracy and local control have never been in the plan.

  30. During all my AOC years, Dale Sipes is the only person I can recall who had any ability to curb Bill Vickrey’s excesses. Hers was a demanding job and the stress contributed to her declining health. She was a gem: positive, fun loving, twice as intelligent as her so-called superiors. You said it, Flea: God rest her!

    • Again, I am new to all this but very interested. I am limited to Sacramento in my investigation – from what I hear Mr. Lebove & then Ms. Howard of AOC Government Relations also had significant degrees of success in reining him in from running totally amok. That seems to be the consensus here.

  31. Yes, I heard that about her. I hope no one took my pointing this out about Dale and Larry that I meant any disrespect to Dale. Those that I know that worked with her, liked her very much.

  32. On November 20, 2009 at an Annual Recognition Luncheon in Washington D.C., the AOC’s very own William C. Vickrey was inducted into the NCSC Warren E. Burger Society for giving his time, talent and commitment to the National Center for State Courts.

  33. Link to article in Metropolitan News regarding a letter Judge McCoy sent to the JC asking that they prioritize their budget decisions, putting trial court operations at the top of the list –

    http://www.metnews.com/articles/2010/lett011910.htm

  34. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Senator Corbett indicated there is a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the 21st and as a result, she will not be in attendance of the Judicial Council meeting.

    That’s regrettable.

  35. Assemblyman Jones isn’t going to be there either.

  36. Judicial Observer

    In looking at the minutes of Judicial Council meetings over the past years, it apparently is rare for the legislative members to trek over to San Francisco and attend any JC meeting. The exception appears to have been Senator Joe Dunn while he was in office.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      If you look at the agendas and sit through one, I can understand why that is. As my friend Yoda continually says, “puppets they are” and dissent is unwelcome.

      It takes more than a 15 hour annual investment to oversee a branch of government.

  37. As I have said before Judge McCoy is a very impressive thoughtful Judge. He is right- court closures need to be evaluated along with the related issues of use of courthouse construction funds and budgeting of CCMS. I for one respectfully ask the CJ and JC to continue their hearings regarding court closures for 1 month. At that time the JC should convene a full open hearing without time restriction allowing all interested parties to discuss court closures, CCMS, courthouse construction funding which are all related and long term solutions including democratization of the JC.To rush a decision on continuing court closures with restricted public comment as the JC has mandated for this week is detrimental to the branch, the public we serve and our loyal and dedicated employees !