AOC Releases “News Piece” Promoting CCMS

The AOC has released an in-house produced “news piece” in which they sing the praises of CCMS.  The piece was produced by the AOC and distributed under their California Court News banner.

The piece begins with a shot of judicial council members, including King Mister Justice George, visiting a location in Santa Ana to learn more about CCMS and how it will supposedly change how things are done in California courts.

Paul Robinson of Deloitte Consulting, the consulting firm appointed by the AOC to develop CCMS, is shown in the piece saying, “The impact will be absolutely phenomenal and I think you’ll get a sense of that today.” Mmm…phenomenal…yeah. Like what else is a rep from a consulting firm going to say? And for almost $1.5 billion of Californians’ hard earned dollars it better damn well be phenomenal.

Here are a couple of things you’re going to learn about CCMS after watching the video. One, “there are 222 people from 29 courts actively involved in building the system alongside 130 administrative office of the courts employees and 160 justice partners.” And two, “The design blueprint for the software is now 18,000 pages long.” That’s right. 18,000 pages long. Yikes. I’d hate to see how many pages the user manual will be.

The narrator also goes on to claim that, “Our state is so massive and our court needs so complex there is simply no suitable software off the shelf.” And to reiterate her point they show Orange County CEO Alan Carlson stating, “It’s just not there yet. The vendors are not willing to put in the kind of money you have to put in to develop this kind of system.” Well, the vendors may not have the money but fear not because the citizens of California will pay for it. Oh, have I mentioned current CCMS costs are now at $1.5 billion?

This bit of video propaganda appears to have been developed by the AOC after the grilling they got last October when they appeared before a legislative committee.  I mean I highly doubt the JC delegation to Santa Ana had even planned on visiting before the legislative hearing.   CCMS and its costs were one of the primary areas the committee had questions about and it’s more than obvious that somebody took the committee’s questions, developed their answers and tailored their video piece to answer those questions. I think anyone who has real questions about CCMS are not going to find unbiased answers considering this video was produced by the AOC and disseminated on its own website means it isn’t unbiased.  It’s just a piece of fluffery where the AOC is defending its turf by developing a piece of PR to promote a software program that has been years in the making and has cost billions of dollars.

Thank you very much AOC and the JC for your slickly produced piece of fluff, but I’ll wait for an outside source to do a piece on CCMS that will give us a more rounded and unbiased look on your $1.5 billion dollar software program.  Oh, have I mentioned the cost already?  Silly me.

49 responses to “AOC Releases “News Piece” Promoting CCMS

  1. Amused no longer

    I am disgusted. Courts from around the State are discussing layoffs, and these clowns are spending money on a PR film to promote a computer system that doesn’t work. (I need a work that is stronger than disgusted.)

  2. A modern day video version of The Emperor’s New Clothes, produced and distributed by sycophants who need to stop drinking the kool-aid and wake up to reality.

  3. If, in fact, CCMS was designed to be the statewide trial court case management system, why didn’t the plan for the deployment of the application include a comprehensive representation of CA trial courts? In my experience as an IT professional and someone who worked on the CCMS project, one does not keep writing code without deploying the code to a representative sample of the target audience. The majority of trial courts in CA are very small, small, and medium sized; without production deployments in these courts, the AOC has no feedback to incorporate into the product. It seems unlikely to me that prospective buyers would risk money on software that has not yet been proven in smaller court environments.

    • It doesn’t work in Sacramento so why deploy it anywhere else until it does work in Sacramento?

      How come neither the AOC or Deloitte is willing to address Sacramento’s issues? I think Sacramento has done everything short of setting themselves on fire to say “hey, this thing is a dog that does not work as designed”

      If I were the PJ’s or court execs in those other counties deploying CCMS I would be asking myself if my court can afford Sacramento’s serious issues and I don’t see those counties touching on that point – at all.

      Singing its praises because you only have a subset of a version (and are likely running it off a local database) is miles short of moving the database to Tempe and watching the application transform into a dog.

      I also find it interesting that the next stage takes the shotgun pellet approach. It doesn’t work in Sacramento so let’s simultaneously deploy it in 5 other counties and by the time they start screaming – it will be too late and far past the point of no return.

      • Agreed on all accounts . However, as I understand it, San Diego and Orange (maybe Ventura) will run V4 locally and will not use the CTCC. Which begs the question of, “I thought we were going to have a statewide system?”

  4. Amused no longer: stronger words for disgusted.
    makes me want to puke
    stop the world I want to get off
    horror struck

    • Wendy Darling

      Discraceful, shameful and repugnant also come to mind …

    • Courtflea and Wendy Darling! I’m laughing, I have to admit. You are now my two favorite movie reviewers.

      I, too, was disappointed, primarily by a large hole in the plot: No speaker breathed as much as a whisper as to the COST related to this monstrosity of a system.

      The current Chief justice once described himself in a self-deprecating fashion as “Roadkill on the Information Highway”. This was in another AOC production piece (their slick magazine, Court Review, I believe). Well, we are now ALL roadkill on the CCMS highway. The Deloitte official in the infomercial must be terribly pleased with the cash cow that they have found in the California taxpayer, compliments of the AOC and others.

      In all I have read about the system, I have yet to see ONE person even attempt to justify the cost. No one. That is the issue, though, isn’t it? The taxpayer has been royally taken, the money they spent to have a functioning court system absolutely squandered. Why does the AOC continue to act as if all if quite well? The inability to admit error has become a way of life up there, but it is not the fault of the AOC rank and file, and we all know this.

      Things may finally screech to a halt, though.
      The RFI posted by the AOC recently is so interesting. The “pay as you go” is about to get up and go. They are having to face reality–the trial courts have been squeezed dry. Roughly 400+ million taken from the trial court trust fund, 750 million spent so far (these figures are from the 1/09 report to the legislature) and no light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not sure they’re even IN the tunnel.

      What company will come to the rescue? What will they demand? Will they finish the program, and then rent it to us, after we have put in $750,000,000.00? What does the judiciary have to offer in return for a billion dollars, or whatever more it will take to finish? Remember, we were supposed to own this program once it was completed. We must keep a very very close eye on this one, folks.

      • Wendy Darling

        The cost? The “cost” is of no matter, “whatever it takes is what we will spend” Court Jesters Vickrey and Overholt and others have been heard to say, with affirmation from the Chief Justice.

        And if was only going to cost $1 billion dollars Judge Horan, well the Emperor would already have his new clothes, ahm, CCMS, but the cost to complete this monstrosity, as you so correctly identify it, already well exceeds $1 billion and counting, and no can even say when or if it will actually be done, and even then if it will actually work.

        Gosh, and you think that the Chief Justice and all those high priced lawyers over there at the AOC would have heard about a little legal concept called “mitigation of damages”. And in one of the many, many, many, too numerous to count “re-writes” of that single-source, no-bid contract, you think someone up there would have gotten a clue and put a liquidated damages clause in for failure to timely to complete or perform, etc.

        And would it really surprise anyone at this point if Deloitte hasn’t already built in enough glitches to guarantee them a steady income stream of taxpayer money from CCMS for years to come?

        Not only not “in” the tunnel, not even on the train.

        But what do you expect from the same people who decided that giving out promotions and double digit pay raises to select favorites during the worst budget crisis in the State’s history and kept it a secret, and the same Chief Justice who has defended that action at every turn and shamefully degraded anyone who has asked to just have the issue discussed?

        Not incompentency … insanity. Shameful and disgraceful it is to the Judicial Branch, the Council, and most disturbingly to the Office of the Chief Justice.

  5. I should point out how Paul says “We are that close” showing an index finger and a thumb onl 1/2 inch apart, yet the abyss between his interpretation and the facts is only about 900 million of our tax dollars.

  6. This piece really is horrid and empty propaganda. I am truly embarassed for the Judicial Council and the AOC staff who feel compelled to promote such a costly pile of baloney.

    Does anyone know if/when the Legislature is going to hold another hearing?

  7. I have seen the AOC video on CCMS. When I was in the Marine Corps we called this a “dog and pony show”. This little production will not impress anyone, even the stupid and ignorant.

    Today I went to the Home Depot web site. They have 1500 stores ( sound familiar with 1500 judges?) . They have hundreds of thousands of customers. There are probably 100,000 plus products. These products have to be ordered, stored and sold. Using the web site a customer can find out what product is available in which store and order it.Then the store reorders the sold item. The AOC pretends that CCMS is some sort of breakthrough, similar to sending a man to Mars, when in fact what CCMS does is pretty simple: it takes in great amounts of information and then stores it and then makes it available to the customer, the courts and the public, and to our “justice partners” who have to use it.

    The truth, I fear, is that CCMS is the most expensive computer failure this state, and perhaps this nation has ever known. As some blogger pointed out it is as expensive as the Dubai Tower.

    How about the One Billion Dollar Challenge: Let us have the AOC take this video and a one page proposal of what CCMS is supposed to do to, and when it is supposed to do it, and what it will cost to do it, to five experts on computer systems: faculty members at Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, San Jose State,the head of IT at Walmart, or whoever they want ( including ComputerGeek?) and ask them: What should this system cost? How long should it take to be established?

    And to spend money on this video when people are taking pay cuts and being laid off?

    Pick the word from courtflea you like the best to respond to this question.

    • Wendy Darling

      Dear Judge Maino,

      Dogs and ponies are actually kind of cute. To be compared to this piece of **#!! is an insult to dogs and ponies everywhere.

      Reminded me more of some of the propoganda films Nazi Germany and The People’s Republic of China used to produce to indoctrinate the conscripts about how being sent into forced labor was “good” for them.

  8. Can someone help me out? It’s not clear to me what case types are in production on CCMS in what courts. For example, is LA SC processing only small claims at one court location? If so, what has the independent consultant brought on board in Burbank in 2006 been doing for the last 4 years? I understood he was responsible for managing the implementation of all CCMS Civil case types for LA. It’s disturbing that Orange SC states that they use the Civil application every day and it works fine yet reports on this blog regarding the Sacramento SC state that the application doesn’t work. When I left the CCMS project in 2006, CCMS deployment work for the Civil application was underway for 5 of the 6 courts that are referenced in the AOC’s video. 4 years later, it appears that only 1 additional SC has the CCMS Civil application in production. Without sufficient metrics on CCMS Civil production implementations representing very small, small, medium, large, and very large courts, projected timeframes are no better that “WAGs.” Who has been managing (or not managing) the deployment activities? A bright light needs to shine on the deployment side of the project as well as on the development side of the effort. The word that comes to mind for me as both an IT professional and taxpayer is “unacceptable.”

    • Vision aka V1.59xx= Criminal/Traffic
      V2 = Criminal/Traffic (Vision on the web???)
      V3= Small Claims (SC), Mental Health (MH), Civil Limited/Unlimited (CIV), and Probate (PR)
      V4=All case types

      LA = V3-SC
      Ventura=V1, V3 (SC, MH, CIV, PR)
      San Diego = V3 (CIV, PR, SC)
      Sacramento = V3 (CIV, PR)
      Fresno = V2
      Orange = V3 (CIV, PR, SC, MH?)
      San Joaquin = V3 (SC, MH, CIV, PR)

  9. Judge Horan and Judge Maino

    Great points.

    The AOC never addresses the issue of COST because they have known for at least two years they don’t have enough money to pay for it. The current economic crisis has nothing to do with the lack of funding. The AOC’s funding strategy relied on money from the courts that the courts never had and at least $400 million from the legislature.

    When the AOC is asked why they continue to fund the development of a system when they know they do not have the money to deploy it, the answer is the investment in the system would be lost if they were to stop. This answer itself raises a number of questions, including, why throw good money after bad? It also raises the question of what about the investment in the Courts?

    Courts were finally starting to make budget progress. To the extent TCTF are being used to develop and implement CCMS in 3 courts, while court budgets are being slashed, the courts are losing ground and irreparbly harmed.

    Judge Horan asks some great questions and I hope he continues to ask them up the line. The mere fact the AOC has resorted to seeking financing from third-party investors and stimulus funding is a great argument for stopping the project right now.

    Rather than going out and trying to raise capital, why doesn’t the AOC send out an RFP to the previously certified vendors to see how much it would cost to get the courts that truly need a new system up and running with something within the next 5 years.

    The systems may not be as slick as CCMS is supposed to be, but if you don’t have the money for a Mercedes, you may have to drive a used Ford.

    The AOC acts as if the fact CCMS is far superior to any product a vendor could supply (a point that has yet to be proven), justifies its cost. If product quality was the only factor in a purhasing decision I would be typing this post on a 27″ iMac, while sitting in the oak paneled studio of my home in La Jolla overlooking the Pacific, and drinking a glass of 1961 Haut-Brion.

    The reality is you can’t buy more than you can afford. However, it seems as if cost was never a consideration throughtout the history of the CCMS project. There is no better evidence of the AOC’s failure to face this reality than the RFI seeking outside investors.

  10. What some refuse to see is that a total mess like CCMS is the predictable result when there is zero oversight, and a malleable Council. To divorce CCMS from governance is an impossibility. There have been 6 “no” votes and 3 abstentions recorded in 13 years of Council minutes covering hundreds and hundreds of votes. looked. Two of those no votes and two of the abstentions were within the last 4 months. This is not governance. This is obedience.

    There should be some reevaluation by those who sat on that Council year after year without a peep, or a question, about this money. Can you imagine the amount of labor California citizens must expend to raise 1.7 billion in taxes?

    I know that people sometimes are selected to the Council and go up with great intentions, only to immediately learn that to get along, one must go along, time after time. That is a fact. There are the inevitable compromises in order to try to protect one’s court, one’s career, one’s “viability”. And the one cardinal rule is: do not question.

    Over 6 weeks ago, I personally wrote to all but one voting member of the Council that were on that body in 2002-2003, when the AOC claims that CCMS was born. The letter asked specific questions, such as whether they even recalled voting to begin the project, whether they were ever told what the cost might be, were they briefed as to an expected completion date, etc. I pointed to the AOC reports that claim the project was authorized by the council in 2002. No minutes, of course, reflect this.

    Of 25 or so people, I believe that 6 bothered to respond.

    Of those 6, two said they had no recollection of anything like that, one blaming age. (I know the feeling) One said he thought he was given a tour somewhere, but can’t remember, but is convinced that the program is valuable, though he can’t remember whether he was briefed as to cost due to the passage of time. The other three were very nice, and did their very best to outline what had taken place, but despite their best efforts, none could definitively pinpoint the time or place of any initial Council authoriziation of the initial project known as CCMS, even after they were supplied with the relevant minutes and reports, which I sent to all of the members to assist in refreshing their recollections. As I say, the others simply did not respond at all.

    One or two on the Council in later years questioned, in writing, the advisability of continuing the project with no controls. The former PJ of Los Angeles was one of these. Naturally, his complaints went unheeded. Likewise, the warnings of the LAO were ignored.

    In 22 years of hearing jury trials, I have learned that the truth almost invariably bubbles up and takes form when the right questions are repeated by a diligent questioner. Thankfully, we now have many, many questioners, something that has at times been missing.

  11. Judge Horan

    I wonder if the refusal/reluctance of former JC members to respond to your letter is yet another manifestation of a dysfuntional governance structure? I would expect if these judicial officers felt approval of a $1.4 billion system was part of their duties, they would feel some sense of accountability for the current problems with the CCMS project.

    As presently structured, the JC sees itself as a “policy making body”. The JC adopts broad general policies such as “we need a statewide case management system” and delegates execution and implementation of this policy to the AOC.

    This structure creates an accountability gap because the JC feels it has complied with its obligation by its policy statement and does not accept responsibility for execution or implementation of the policy. As long as the AOC tells them progress is being made on the system, they are off the hook.

    When the AOC is asked about the cost, benefits, delay, etc., it provides a standard answer, “it is JC policy and we will continue until advised otherwise.”

    The JC members you contacted lack the information to answer the questions asked because they were never provided the information. Since the governance structure does not require the AOC to provide this level of detail, the JC simply states that those details are the responsibility of the AOC and the AOC can say it is simply carrying out JC policy.

    Both the AOC and JC can legitimately claim they are fulfulling their obligations, ignoring the fact the structure creates a huge gap in accountability.

    Was one of the questions asked whether or not the AOC provided JC members with a copy of the 2004 LAO report? I can’t imagine we would be where we are today if the individual members of the JC were aware of the LAO’s concerns.

  12. Real Party in Interest

    Watching this, am I the only person who is disturbed to see a Deloitte representative featured so prominently? Who is running the show? Why is a consultant speaking on behalf of the courts?

  13. I didn’t think of this but I wonder if this film should even be on the AOC’s public page. It’s not a news story when you are a state agency, it’s a public document. They might want to take it off the site unless they have asked Deloitte to agree to disclose in ALL future bids and proposals that they have participated in a film that promoted CCMS on behalf of the AOC.

  14. I guess what gets me about this video clip (besides the above remarks), is that: just how stupid does the Bill, Ron O, and Ron show think we are?! Worse yet, that the public at large would somehow be impressed? Krikey, all this video needed was Mr. Magoo to step in (ok I am aging myself) to show us how CCMS really works great and Bozo could have done the narration for this 3 ring circus! It would have been much less insulting to my intellegence and certainly more entertaining. The only “clowns” and “uninformed” people I see here are the lickspittles on the council. And shame on Alan and for that matter, Sheila (both of whom I once admired greatly), for promoting this piece of #@$%!

    CCMS has created its own policy in the AOC/JC. Sort of like “don’t ask don’t tell”. But it should be called “don’t ask because we won’t tell” (you the truth about this piece of junk and how much it costs).

    But on the other hand, perhaps the AOC and the Chief plan on playing this clip to dazzle the legislature into providing the AOC with more money for CCMS! That is about how stupid THEY are.

  15. Repost:
    The CCMS video was probably produced by the AOC’s Education Division and the talented folks in its Media Production Services Unit. What puzzles me is that the AOC’s Office of Communications previous position has always been that the AOC, as a state agency, isn’t supposed to produce PR materials. But isn’t that what this CCMS video is — pure PR?

  16. I agree Josh. I don’t like seeing a Deloitte person saying we are “this close” when technology projects were recently given several million dollars in October (when it is reasonable to assume that some or lots (?) of that money went to Deloitte Consulting?)

    I think the AOC may be confusing the proper use of the public web page.

    The AOC does produce fantastic video pieces, but in this instance, I don’t know that I would use a government video as a “news story.” Pieces by Ms. Kozak have traditionally been used a vehicle to communicate to judicial branch employees, not to the public.

  17. Yeah, the AOC is not supposed to do PR stuff, just like they are not supposed to lobby the legislature because it is not appropriate to spend tax dollars that way (ie. paying lobbists like the OGA). These people are like bad parents saying do as I say, not as I do. Man, superman where are you? I am still waiting for truth, justice and the american way to prevail…

    • Well, Flea, you just have to be patient! Things are going quite smoothly, albeit not always visibly, for good reason. You just have to keep the faith, pal! ACJ and others are working hard every single day. ACJ did not take today off, either! lol

      This mess didn’t happen overnight, so it can’t be fixed in three or four months, but it will happen. All just a matter of time. You know, in this volatile atmosphere, maybe it will even be sooner than later. Our issues, of course are not “left” or “right” issues, but I use as an example a recent New England election. It doesn’t matter which side you were on in that one, it was a simply astounding turn of events. Would you, or ANYONE, have predicted that 4 months ago? Both sides were shocked up there. Do not underestimate the potential for rapid change. Never ever get down.

      Think back to a year ago and see if you thought you’d see the things you are now seeing.

      Superman is not required for this job. Just lots of folks who won’t quit until it’s over. ACJ is in for the long haul. The quicker it’s over, the better for all concerned, but it will not end until major, legally enforceable changes are made. Until then, on we cheerfully go!

  18. Well said, Judge Horan! Reform is inevitable…..

  19. Notably by this time in 1998 when pro-lifers indicated they would work to unseat Chief Justice George and Justice Chin, the chief had already established two co-chairs for his re-election bid.

    Senator Diane Feinstein and former Governor George Dukemejian were announced in January of 1998 to co-chair “Mr. G’s” re-election bid. We have yet to hear of anyone dumb enough to sacrifice their own political aspirations or office this time around.

    History will show that to be a grassroots movement that the jurist looked upon as a serious threat. The states’ republican political machine revved up and with two respected leaders sitting as co-chairs the endorsements started rolling in for the jurist and he amassed a $600,000.00 campaign war chest.

    The pro-life grassroots movement believed that they could unseat George & Chin without raising funds – with a simple grassroots movement. As such they spent virtually no effort on raising funds and raised somewhere between $2,000.00 and $2,500.00 towards unseating them and were unsuccessful.

    We would advise the jurist to choose retirement this time around. 🙂

  20. Today on the Ronn Owens radio show heard on KGO Newstalk 810 (ABC Radio) Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg was asked the following question

    “With a 20 billion dollar deficit, I was wondering what you know about the Judicial Branch’s 1.75 billion dollar court case management system that by all accounts, doesn’t work or the statewide use of unlicensed contractors on courthouses who all were the beneficiaries of sole source no-bid contracts?”

    Darrell Steinberg’s reply:
    “I am very aware of both situations and in this legislative session you will see the legislature exercising greater oversight over the Judicial Branch as well as the Executive Branch. I’ve talked to Justice George about these matters and he understands…. the need for greater legislative oversight.”

  21. Real Party in Interest

    I’m curious as to what exactly the Chief understands, and why he agrees there should be more legislative oversight. To my knowledge, this has not been communicated anywhere but here and on the radio.

    • To those on here calling for more Legislative oversight of the Judicial Branch, I have a serious question–what has the Legislature done recently to convince you that it would do a better job of overseeing the Judicial Branch or is an any way qualified to do so? I know that many in the ACJ are calling for a Judicial Branch-based oversight body. I disagree that a 58-member body is in any way feasible or workable, but at least they seem to have separation of powers concerns in mind. But to those advocating that the Legislature oversee the Judicial Branch… that just seems to be asking for trouble, given the horrific mess the Legislature has made of California generally (which, in my opinion, makes CCMS pale by comparison). So could someone please explain to me how/why you think the Legislature would do better and would not eviscerate the Judicial Branch in the process? Thanks!

      • No, the ACJ’s proposed advisory group of 58 judges is not unworkable. Perhaps you have not yet seen the proposed legislation, which calls for a smaller group of the 58 to perform the executive functions, with county/regional size and judicial numbers taken into account in forming this executive group, which will be much smaller than the Judicial Council, for example. It’s selection is quite democratic and representative, unlike the manner in which the judicial council is selected, of course. All quite well thought out, from selection to funding (no branch increase, funded and staffed from existing AOC funds). What is to fear from trial court judges being given an advisory role ?

        IF we end up with outside legislative oversight of the type you fear, it will be because those at the very top of our leadership refuse, to this day, to embrace proposals such as ours, denying that ANY fix is necessary.
        You are right, of course, to recognize that the ACJ approach poses zero separation of powers issues.

  22. Real Party in Interest

    We don’t know what the Chief’s conversation was with Darrell Steinberg (it’s actually of most interest to me that Steinberg knew about the contractor and CCMS issues), but as for the Legislature … they are worried about California going broke, period. Greater legislative oversight may mean putting some things on the books that will avoid many of the runaway problems we are seeing now. The AOC is not the only agency who is having contractor issues, the Executive branch is as well.

  23. Mr. Steinberg seemed to be reaching for words to finish his sentence after mentioning the Chief Justice.

    The entire legislature knows about both the contractor and ccms issues because each and every one of them has been personally contacted about it.

  24. The need for the Legislature to step in at this point is self-evident. The Chief Justice’s failure to exercise the necessary administrative corrective measures to these problems and issues at the AOC and in the Judicial Branch, or even to permit open discussion of them, makes this evident. Instead, he has either remained remote and silent – implying consent and approval – or has defended the actions of his designated subordinate administrators, such as with the secret promotions and double-digit pay raises of selected favorites as well as the unrestrained spending and lack of oversight and control on CCMS. The Judicial Council has also indicated that it, too, will not question or exercise adminiatrative authority over the actions of the AOC or the administrative actions of the Chief Justice.

    If the Chief Justice and the Judicial Council won’t right it its own house, that leaves few options for the public to look to, with correction by the Legislature one of those options, and voting against retention of the Chief Justice in the upcoming election in November being another.

    “Separation of Powers” does not give the Judicial Branch the right or the authority to corrupt or hijack and entire branch of government. To do so is a violation of the The Public Trust. The Chief Justice and the Judicial Council has been afforded every opportunity to take the necessary corrective measures. We have all seen the resulting response.

    • There seems to be this confusion between separation of powers and checks and balances.

      The legislative and executive branch must serve their respective roles as checks and balances to the AOC since the separation of powers and self-policing is obviously ineffectual.

      Regardless, we agree that the Chief and Justice Chin should be voted off the bench for their lack of leadership.

      Judge Horan, we would like to see the text of that proposed legislation as we fear that an ‘advisory role’ is not enough.

      Advising the AOC to change course does not make it happen as many have advised the AOC to change course. Because changing course would be tantamount to an admission of fallability we know that an advisory role would be insufficient.

      Such a committee could be formed without legislation if it were to serve only in an advisory capacity and that such advice is already coming from the more than 200 member strong ACJ – and is being ignored. While perhaps the 58 would bare representation from every county in the state how would this be any different from the current situation?

      Maybe you can cite an example on how an advisory role would bring about reform of the CCMS process or how an advisory role would end the no-bid sole source contracts or lavishly paid ‘forever’ consultants with no meaningful deliverables within the AOC? Inquiring minds and all that.

  25. I agree separation of powers needs to be respected. However, the legislative branch has the authority and duty to make appropriations of funds to the other branches of government.

    Approximately one-half of the trial court trust fund comes from general fund appropriations. I do not know how much of the AOC/Sup. Ct./Ct of App. operations are supported by the general fund.

    To the extent there are questions associated with the expenditure of these funds, the legislature clearly has oversight jurisdiction.

  26. It is my belief that almost all of the funds for the judicial branch come from the general fund. The legislature clearly has the authority to determine how the funds should be disbursed
    within the judicial branch.

  27. As usual Judge Horan, you are correct. My passion overrides my common sense at times. Rome was not built in a day.

    I too am concern about legislative oversight impinging upon the branch however, as others have said, someone must have some oversight over the branch, if there is some question of impropriety. Again, I go back to the question of why the CJA can’t (after receiving complaints) can’t investigate the CJ for impropriety or perhaps even breaking the law, as the one who is ultimately responsible for AOC oversight?

  28. Well, I think you may be confused about your acroynms, or perhaps I am, but be clear: NO ONE that I know of believes or has suggested that the CJ has engaged in any impropriety. That is most definitely not a position of ACJ or anyone else that I know. We do, however, seek oversight of the AOC for a number of reasons, however, as you know, and I believe that there are tremendous problems with the governance structure up there, including but not limited to the lack of democracy in the manner of council member selection, a total lack of AOC oversight, the mismanagement of several initiatives, and a complete lack of transparency both with the Council’s activities, and those of the AOC , all coupled with a lack of input from the trial courts.

  29. I second Judge Horan’s comments. NOBODY that I know believes that the Chief Justice has engaged in any impropriety. NOBODY. that being said I do not believe in the present governance structure. I do not believe that if he had been given the proper information that he would have made some of the decisions he has made. He is surrounded by people who tell him what they want him to hear rather than telling him the truth. This is a receipe for disaster as we are seeing every day.

    Every leader needs someone close to him who can, without reservation, tell the leader the truth no matter how distrubing that truth might be for him to hear.

    The truth is that CCMS was a program that started off as a no-bid contract; the costs have been greater than anyone could have imagined; the time for completion is greater than anyone could have imagined; and the program works worse than anyone could have imagined in view of the funds expended.

    Transparency, accountability and fiscal prudence is the motto of the JC/AOC but, I fear, it is only a motto. The Chief, and only the Chief can make the motto a reality.

    Under the present governance structure the Chief, and only the Chief, can right the ship.The present helmsman of the AOC is not up to the task. Someone, who the Chief trusts, needs to give him a correct analysis of the present situation. Ïf that “someone”will step foward and return the AOC to being the servant of the Jucicial Council rather than the reverse the Judicial Branch might regain the stature it had before all of the present unpleasantness.

    Let me repeat: the Chief is an honorable man.

    • On what grounds do you base your assertion that CCMS started off as a no-bid contract? I see a 2002 RFP for CCMS posted on the California Courts website. Furthermore, Deloitte appears to have won that bid even though BearingPoint was the vendor on V2.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      Judge Horan & Maino,

      The Chief Justice has had numerous issues land directly in his lap as the head of the branch.

      When these things happen, people traditionally disappear from AOC’s employment – if it is an AOC person that brought it up.

      The Chief Justice stands in a unique position to act on many of the issues brought forward.

      The direction chosen however is one of either really, really bad advice on a consistent basis – or one that questions the integrity of the office itself.

      Either the CJ is part of the solution or he is part of the problem. Given all that has run amok at the AOC and the liklihood that these things were neither coincidental or accidental it inevitably leads one to question who is leading the judicial council, who is leading the AOC and who is leading the branch.

      Impropriety is being part of the problem when viable solutions are at hand.

      Impropriety speaks to the act of being improper.

      The 4 definitions for improper are:

      1. Not suited to circumstances or needs; unsuitable:

      2. Not in keeping with conventional mores; indecorous: improper behavior.

      3. Not consistent with established truth, fact, or rule; incorrect.

      4. Irregular or abnormal.

      I respectfully submit that many of the acts that I’ve borne witness to by the CJ fall under definition # 4.

      It is both irregular and abnormal to continue to do business with someone you’re filing suit against.

      Some fall within definition # 3,

      Not inviting an independent investigation and independent audit or independent assessments of the various situations is “not consistent with the truth or the facts and the rule of law itself.”

      No-bid contracts and the use of unlicensed contractors comes to mind here.

      Some fall within definition # 1.

      Building new courthouses while other shut down across the state, several people in the AOC organization knowingly steering work to unlicensed contractors and choosing to spend 1.75 billion dollars all fall under definition # 1

      “Unsuitable to circumstances or needs.”

      The chief may indeed be an honorable man his leadership qualities come under question when acts unsuitable to the branch’s circumstances or needs happen under his leadership.

      Things are broken that only his leadership can resolve. You can be honorable and still conduct improper acts or make improper decisions.

      Even if the roots of those acts or decisions were the result of bad advice. Nobody tells anyone to jump off the golden gate bridge but about every 4 days someone does it.

      They may be honorable people making that jump but the decision to do so is their own and by any standard, said jumper is engaging in impropriety.

  30. Real Party in Interest

    Thank you for both (Judge Horan and Judge Maino) for these comments. Everyone is entitled to the benefit of the doubt … that is what our system of justice is founded on. Our system is also founded on freedom of speech and accountabilty, and that is why this forum has so much power.

  31. Yes thank you both Judges, I am glad to hear that and yes I meant the CJP not the CJA, my bad :-). I also wanted to clairify that I do not believe that PJs or CJs should be held accountable via the CJA or other means for their Administrator’s actions, OTHER than to take what they believe is the appropriate action locally with the administrator. We don’t want to go down that road. But after all of this publicity, I cannot believe that the Chief is not aware of some of at least, the appearances of impropriety by the AOC. While I certainly appreciate his loyalty to his administrators and their advice, I just question why he has not taken any action other than to make matters worse. But I guess this is one of the reasons this blog exists. I hope eventually as part of the change in the governance process that if a CJ runs amuck (as it appears he is now) wanting to be the sole dictator of the branch, there is a process to negate that. What that is I don’t know, just a thought.

    Wow who dat!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Name Withheld

    007: CCMS has had a long history of trial and error. But you are correct, it was in June 2007 when a $95 million no-bid contract was awarded to Deloitte to develop V4 (all case types). The no-bid contract was awarded with no business plan in place (see various articles from the Sacramento Bee and other publications). It was only because of urging from people like Judge Czuleger that any V4 plan was developed at all, moths after the contract was signed.

  33. Real Party in Interest

    Mr. Kenobi:

    It is hard for people to understand, but I use this analogy: the Chief and the Administrative Director are like an estranged king and queen who barely speak to one another. They have learned to live apart in separate houses with separate staff, and they only show up for events where they sit next to each other at the head of the table and officiate politely (unless disturbed by the riff-raff of the public). They appear to agree and to work on the same plane, but in reality, they operate in separate spheres and have an unspoken agreement (do not criticize, do not back down, get rid of those who dissent).

    Like many people, I lost faith in the Chief to know right from wrong, or actually want to lead by consensus, years ago. There are very few people who have any power in the judicial branch, and they are all at the top and they don’t dare admit a mistake has been made. Or thousands.

    That is why the prospect of change is so appealing. Any progress for members of the bench to obtain a scrap of acknowledgement that mistakes have been made, and offers new thinking, is most welcome. To get to that place, however, may require a new king and queen.

  34. Just a point of information regarding what Carlson and the narrator stated. Regardless of what they believe, the size of our court system does not correlate to the complexity of the software required. The complexity required would be virtually the same for 3 counties or 58 counties. It is just such fundamental errors in logic that have gotten the AOC in so much trouble with CCMS.