Is The AOC Considering Selling CCMS to Other Courts?

A sharp-eyed AOC Watcher reader spotted this on the AOC’s website.

RFI for CCMS Alternative Funding for Statewide Deployment

RFI Number: RFI 201001-CAFSD01

The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to invite qualified interested parties to provide information (submissions) to the Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to assist the AOC in identifying and exploring the potential implementation of alternative funding and market opportunities for the California Court Case Management System (CCMS). CCMS is a custom-developed court case management system intended to be deployed statewide in all 58 California trial courts.

The AOC’s goal is to identify feasible alternative funding transactions and asks interested parties to present submissions that will fund CCMS deployment to the courts in a manner consistent with existing public policy objectives (e.g., transparency, accountability, and fiscal prudence).

If anyone has info on what exactly the AOC has in mind for CCMS, do fill us in.

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36 responses to “Is The AOC Considering Selling CCMS to Other Courts?

  1. I am not sure of the time involved. I think it was about a year ago. I had a conversation with Mr. Tom Warwick, who is a local attorney who is on the Judicial Council.

    I was complaining to him about the cost, delay, and lack of functionality of CCMS. Mr. Warwick told me , in a nice sort of way, that I did not know what I was talking about as other states had approached the JC and asked if they could buy the program. Mr. Warwick said that CCMS might be a moneymaker for the State.

    This was a brief conversation in the hallway but I did not forget it as it seemed so preposterous that anyone would want CCMS and actually pay for it.

    So, it appears this idea has been in the hopper for some time.

    • Judge Maino

      I don’t know Mr. Warwick. However, JC members are spoon-fed only the information the AOC feels they need to know. Unless he was personally involved in CCMS development, I don’t think his status as a JC member establishes him as a reliable source of information on CCMS.

      Maybe there are other states that want to purchase CCMS. However, CCMS is designed to be used in very large, high volume courts. Its functionality in a small or medium sized court is not only unproven, it was never designed to be used in that type of environment. Furthermore, it is doubtful the AOC or its consultants have the experience and expertise to support implementation and deployment of the system in another state. We aren’t even sure they can do it in California because V4 is not ready.

      There are case management system vendors that are beginning to offer web-based systems with similar functionality as CCMS at a fraction of the cost.

      One of the justifications for developing CCMS was that California was unique and an off-the shelf system would require too much configuration and would still not provide the functionality “needed”. Since the system was designed to operate in California’s “unique” environment, it is interesting that the AOC now thinks it is suitable for use in other states. If a California system can work in other states, why couldn’t a system from another state work in California?

  2. Amused No Longer

    Buy what? The program is a fool’s dream, it does not work. I call BS on Warwick and the Council, though it is possibly that other States Judiciaries may be as dopey as the AOC. I still find it hard to believe that anyone is interested in a system that doesn’t exist.

  3. I note that the comments section includes an automatically generated link to the Sacramento Bee Op-Ed which the Bee gave a title to, including the word “Fishy”. I noted at the time that some people on this blog questioned the writer’s cost estimates but one person commenting accurately analyzed the situation and agreed that it shouldn’t cost more than a million or two to do the whole thing.

    Actually, that cost estimate goes further than just the software to make court records electronic and share data between courts. It includes writing compatible software for associated justice agencies and showing everybody how to install and use it. I know because I made it. Someone asked who ComputerGeek was and would I identify myself. I figured sooner or later someone not in the loop would figure it out although several bloggers already know because I spoke to them on the phone in conversations not necessarily related to AOC Watcher. So it might as well be sooner. It’s time to get past all that and get on to a solution.

    I have noted a number of people interestingly are having trouble with the idea of me providing a free demonstration of what could be done at the court level. They view this as commercial promotion. They totally overlook the word “free.” I find that to be fascinating as a matter of human psychology since no money would change hands at that point and even if the AOC (or perhaps the Legislature) woke up and realized what could be done, the cost to code all of the software I mentioned, including compatible software for all associated justice agencies and all the necessary forms would be only about 1/500th to 1/1000th of what the AOC currently projects as the cost of CCMS. And note carefully that my full plan includes a heck of a lot more than CCMS contemplates.

    My name has been mentioned to the Legislature as the possible subject of urgency enabling legislation by at least one person (and I think two) who know for sure that I know what I’m doing because they have used software I created. In the case of Judge Hamlin, he was having a problem with software intended to create jury instructions from CALCRIM sources. The vendor couldn’t fix the problems. His own IT department couldn’t help him. I talked to him briefly, had him describe over the phone what problems he was having, and designed prototype software overnight that fixed everything. I guess he was a little surprised, to put it mildly. I then fleshed out the data sources, producing a complete modular assembly tool. Judge Hamlin suggested to the Legislature that they listen to me. So far, they haven’t quite picked up the cue.

    Can what I describe really be done? Quickly? Cheaply? Flawlesly? Sure. The problem that many are having with the logic on those points derives from their flawed use of deductive logic. All deductive logic proceeds from a premise or theory. Inductive or empirical logic reasons from observed phenomena (such as the Wright brothers airplane actually flying) and attempts to fill in the logic between what is observed and a corrected underlying premise. If you combine the inductive logic process with what Professor Stanovich (University of Toronto) describes in his book What Intelligence Tests Miss, you can better understand what has occurred in the CCMS arena. Many people analyzing the problem of creating electronic court records, sharing them between courts, and sharing data bi-laterally with associated agencies have failed to “rule out the negative,” a process which Professor Stanovich describes. And he gives examples of problems which test the examinee’s ability to perform the necessary logic. Many, many very intelligent (i.e., high IQ) people get many wrong answers so if you try out the tests and miss a bunch, and you have an IQ north of 140, don’t feel that bad. You’re in good company. I tried some examples out on some very intelligent friends. Watching the erroneous logic on several of the items was absolutely fascinating. I missed part of one of the problems and when I read the explanation it was like “Duh!!” I got the rest right.

    So where does the empirical logic process fit in here? Well, in spite of the fact that numerous “IT experts” have stated absolutely, positively, almost triumphantly that it’s impossible to write hundreds of thousands of lines of code and produce a specialized software application with no coding errors, and that can perform complex calculations almost instantaneously, I have such applications sitting right on the computer in front of me. I wrote them. One is vastly more complicated than anything required to make court records electronic and share them. The complexity required for the court records is literally a joke by comparison.

    That’s where Professor Stanovich would thump his fist down on the table and say, “Look!” He would say to look at whether there is any example in existence that disproves the theory or assumption in question. Forget about all the proofs of the positive. Look for the possible negative because, if it exsits, the theory or assumption is incorrect. He would tell people to then reason inductively and not deductively.

    Premises that have been assumed to be correct in the CCMS project arena and which then form the basis of deductive logic include the following:

    1) It takes a lot of people programming to produce something complex enough to create electronic court records, handle electronic court records with software, data sharing, etc.
    2) It must cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and perhaps even billions
    3) It must take years to do it
    4) It must have a system architecture of the type that has been constructed so far
    5) The software must have an internal architecture of the type that is currently being used.

    All of these assumptions are demonstrably wrong. My tendered free demonstration would show the errors in each of these assumptions. But, as Professor Stanovich points out, many very, very objectively intelligent (i.e., high measured IQ on the Stanford Binet or WAI scales) fail to grasp that possibility because they look to prior examples of how IT projects have been run, reason forward in a “confirm the positive” manner, and totally overlook the need to explore whether there is a negative example in existence.

    The negative examples are sitting right on this computer. Another piece of software I wrote to fill a special request can sort up to 120,000 singles scores for up to 3,000 bowlers bowling anywhere up to 40 games apiece (thus covering special events that are a bit out of the ordinary) and do it in a fraction of a second on the computer sitting in front of me.

    Whether I am permitted to make the demonstration now depends on politics. The technology is a snap. But I need the cooperation of a number of people and many of them would be prohibited from cooperating unless the urgency legislation suggested by Judge Hamlin is enacted.

    If you are in IT, you may react to some of the premises underlying my prototypes with, “That’s not possible!” “That won’t work!” Etc. But …. been there before. With a whole lot of so-called “IT experts.” When the end users found the produced software to be 100% accurate, easy to use, and noted it worked at blinding speed, the “experts” suddenly got quiet.

    If you’re an “IT expert”, you need to watch. Just observe the end users and the real world results. Put aside for the moment anything you have been told or “learned” that is in conflict with what you observe.

  4. “The qualifications of any interested party proposing financing or market structures in response to this RFI are of interest to the AOC, particularly as they pertain to the ability of such parties to provide or arrange financing, and will be a significant factor in the AOC’s determination to proceed after evaluating all submissions, including whether to issue an RFP. Accordingly, interested parties are requested to include comprehensive qualifications in their submissions, and must have, as a minimum qualification, prior experience with at least a single alternative funding transaction within the last three years valued in the $75M to $125M range.”

    Who has this kind of money to invest in a government program?

    • Deloitte Inc. and The Shapiro Charitable Trust are two that come to mind …

      • Obi-Wan Kenobi

        This too will end up a sole source transaction.

        Deloitte will end up financing deployment in light of already being overpaid. Their alleged payment will be to remarket CCMS under their own name in exchange for deployment as only the people who wrote the source code can support, deploy and market the application.

        This is a method of conveying the rights back to the developers and a shell transaction.

        Your tax dollars at work.

  5. Besides Mr. Shapiro? He certainly could fund and help this project from his private foundation. But I would not recommend that he invest any further in the AOC at this time.

  6. Obi

    So the AOC basically financed Deloitte’s R&D efforts to enable it to enter the CMS market?

    Now it all makes sense as I couldn’t figure out why a third-party would ever want to get involved given the licensing and support issues.

    The folks at Deloitte must be getting a good chuckle out of this.

    Thanks.

  7. Real Party in Interest

    One would hope Deloitte Consulting, LLP is precluded from submitting a response to the RFI. Doing so, or using another party to do so, would be continued public exploitation of government.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      Deloitte Consulting LLP could indeed submit a response insofar as a request for information as its a free country. Alternatively, they can have a puppet (say, a company like SAIC) sub it out to them. A response from Deloitte to perform this function on behalf of the AOC would be a generous reward. Alternatively, you give it to a company that subs out the work to Deloitte. Either way, its that almighty source code that makes the developers king and places everyone else on a steep, expensive learning curve.

      The AOC has also had the idea of charging law firms and individuals for access to CCMS and any such response would use this to also effectivly address supporting and hosting the existing system – as well as nullify any need for an RFP in the eyes of the AOC.

      It’s not coincidence that the NCSC site is located on Deliotte’s servers or that CCMS might end up there as well. 🙂

      We’re just one big happy family. The question is – is the public privy to those RFI responses?

      • Real Party in Interest

        I have never understood how an LLP formed in 2000 got so much money from the State of California, including a $95 million no-bid contract, but now I understand why.

  8. Several people have made insightful comments about the potential process by which a vendor such as Deloitte can profit off investment of taxpayer dollars. As Obi-Wan Kenobi pinpointed, the problem lies in the secrecy of the source code.

    The problem goes even further than that, but does have a solution, although you won’t find too many vendors agreeing to it. There are two layers of protection that can come into play in these IT boondoggles. The first, of course, is the inability of others to get at the source code. A second layer comes with the use of a proprietary format that cannot be accessed except through the use of limited distribution, expensive proprietary software. That second barrier has popped up in a number of cases.

    I have a different view of how such situations should be handled. First, you don’t use a proprietary format that has limited distribution. Use widely available formats that can be accessed by interfacing software you can buy at Costco, Best Buy, Fry’s, etc. That takes care of one gotcha very nicely. Second, you provide the password(s), possibly in trust, but at least provide them to a third party just in case there is a problem later between vendor and the government agency customer. This prevents the “data held hostage” situation that crops up so often.

    In addition to the above methods, all data is held on computers that are under the direct control of the customer. Under no circumstances do you set up a situation where the data resides on a computer that is under the control of the vendor. You should also rule out computers that are in other states, and you should set up the architecture so that any participating agency has direct electronic and physical control over their central database.

    If I was setting up a system for the courts, I would follow these guidelines. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s unconscionable for any IT person to take advantage of his/her superior IT knowledge to hold a government agency hostage or to profit unfairly off development that was financed by taxpayers. Once software is provided to the goverment agency, the software should be theirs, the data and data control should be theirs, and the ability to modify something in an emergency or some IT standoff situation should be theirs.

    Frankly, under the circumstances of the CCMS software/architecture not being usable, as the Sacramento test demonstrated so vividly, I can’t understand how anyone anywhere else would be foolish enough to pay one nickel for it. But then, look at what happened here.

    No money should have changed hands until the whole thing was demonstrated to work, at least in prototype form.

  9. I keep hearing people say that CCMS doesn’t work however, I’ve only seen Sacramento say in the press that it doesn’t work. I can’t find anything about the other CCMS courts complaining it doesn’t work. From what I’ve been able to find, it’s running in Orange County, San Diego, Ventura, San Joaquin, and Los Angeles but I can’t find any complaints from those courts or even their staff or judges. If CCMS is so bad, why is Los Angeles is running it and why aren’t we hearing of any problems?

    • Notorious

      As mentioned elsewhere, LA is running the small claims portion of the system in one courtroom. The other courts are using versions of V2 and V3. San Diego and Orange are not complaining because they are running the civil portion on their own networks rather than at the tech center. Sacramento is using the tech center and it appears that architecture makes the system very slow. The problem is this is only one court using the civil system. While CCMS might work on a local network, its functionality has not been proven on a large scale using a tech center.

      Of course, your question does not address the issue of whether the $1.0 billion cost can be justified even if CCMS works.

  10. Nortius, I can’t tell you all the details of what each place is running but I do know that, unless something has changed very recently, no county is running a complete system. Not even close. Some counties are running what has been called V3. It’s only part of the court portion of what the overall system is supposed to be. I don’t know of any county that has set up bilateral data exchange with associating agencies. Anyone on this blog know of such?

    Part of the reason for the AOC having their hand still out for billions more is the future development of a lot of this. Like the Carpenters sang, “We only just begun ..”

    And some counties are not running except on a local basis. I tried to get a more detailed look at the specific technology being used but was denied access. It’s one thing to put on a press conference and show a few screen displays to reporters with TV cameras and no technology knowledge. It’s quite another matter to allow someone like myself to take a detailed look at all the technology in play.

    Look carefully at the documents on the courtinfo Web site. Note the mention of development to take place in 2010, etc. They’ve been at this since 2001/2002. And it could all have been done in a matter of months, at most.

  11. 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?

  12. ComputerGeek. I’m confused by your first long post above, which hints around about your ID. Maybe I’m misreading, but your post seems to imply that you and Richard Power (who writes for the Daily Recorder) are one and the same person? Just wondering.

  13. Joshmadisonn, you have it right. I write for the Daily Recorder in Sacramento.

  14. Thank you for your posts ComputerGeek. I can tell there is a lot of intellect going on in a very active brain.

    PACER info:
    http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/faq.html#GP8

  15. Thank you, Mary, for the kind words. Although some people may think I’m trying to sell something, I’m really just trying to help. My concern is for the court system. I find myself in a situation where I could help, but can’t get any traction with those in charge. The financial disaster we are facing is probably much larger than most people realize.

    My dad was a lawyer. He was friends with Justices Mosk and Broussard. I have great respect for the law and court system. Seeing what has gone on with CCMS, I have offered to do a FREE demonstration of what is possible. Although I know a lot of people are upset with people like CJ George, Bill Vickery, Sheila Calabro, and others, I see them as victims too. They have been misled about the technology.

    I know people on this blog have other issues with the AOC, etc., but I am primarily concerned right now with the CCMS project itself and the potentially devastating effect that its cost could have on the judicial system. I am not crazy when I say that the whole thing could be done for about 1/1000th of the currently projected cost. And I note that a couple of people in the know agree with me.

    Although people on this blog realize that a lot of money has gone down the drain, and that the projected cost of $1.75 Billion is a potential huge drain on the judicial branch budget, I’m not sure if people not well-versed in technology have caught the potential implications of where the project is at after about $500 Million spent.

    The project was not done with parallel development of components that absolutely must be developed at the ground floor at the same time. One of my neighbors is in the IT industry and we just chatted at the grocery store. He had seen my Op-Ed response in the Sacramento Bee. When we discussed CCMS, and I explained where it was at in develop0ment, he was aghast at the combination of how much had already been spent and the development status. He recognized, as do I, that potentially the largest problem is still ahead. He was astonished that bilateral data exchange had not been planned out right at the beginning. He has seen numerous problems in getting agreements between different agencies on everything from file formats to standardized abbreviations. He realized, as do I, that the $1.75 Billion point could easily be passed without any end in sight and with those doing the development work getting nowhere and those with the money still being puzzled and absolutely clueless about what is wrong.

    I have tried every way I know to get the attention of the Legislature, the CJ, etc. Others have told those in charge to pay attention to me and to let me demonstrate what could be done. If you are concerned, and want to see what can be done for peanuts by comparison to CCMS’ cost, tell your legislators. Insist that they look into this. I will respond to any legislative inquiries and will explain the situation to any of them at any level of technology they can handle.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      The challenge you face ComputerGeek is the issue of governance. The people that you would need to sell your idea to are the exact same people that are currently running CCMS at the AOC.

      I’m convinced it can be done for far less. Others are convinced it can be delivered for far less.

      Regardless of your ability to design, deliver and deploy any ccms system, you run into those in power that are unwilling to contemplate any change in course on any issue – including the obscene costs of CCMS.

      These are the governance issues. Until you resolve the governance issues you are wasting your time because no one at the AOC wishes to contemplate the possibility that they may be in error or that the deloitte program is anything short of the holy grail.

      You currently hear what Sacramento is saying about the program. Would you expect anything different from any other court once they are running the same way on a ‘statewide’ basis?

      • Obi-Wan, I hear you. I don’t expect the CJ, the AOC, or associated people to just jump up and admit to having made an error in judgment. It’s going to take time. But too much time lag equals a lot more money down the drain, continued court closures, court employees being laid off, and poor service to society by the court system.

        What is needed right now is a demonstration of what can be done. CJ George is not stupid. He’s a smart man. He knows law. But he’s out of his element when it comes to technology. And CCMS is about technology, not law or management. So he relies on people around him whom he thinks know IT and specifically how to do things like create an electronic court records system.

        IMHO, at the core of the genesis of the CCMS problem was bad advice, wrong information, and leaders being misled about the technology.
        So now CJ George and the other leaders on the Judicial Council need to get good advice and information. So far they have gotten absolutely terrible advice. They have been misled royally. And just like a President can make horrible decisions if given bad economic or military advice, so can a CJ make some bad decisions.

        And that’s where the barrier to progress lies. Getting the JC and the CJ to learn what can be done. If they learn, they may well change course. I think the educational task has now fallen to the Legislature. Several members of the Legislature have been strongly advised to listen to me. So if you and others want this fixed, lean on legislators to push the point. If called on to do so, I will demonstrate what can be done.

  16. And P.S.
    Although the bilateral data exchange problem could put the cost of CCMS into the many billions if not stopped, the problem is not necessarily all that difficult to solve at the ground floor. It depends on the individual situations. I can probably figure out in each case (assuming access to the main database of the associating agency’s software in raw form), in about ten minutes, whether or not conversions are possible in each case. And every single one of those determinations should have been made right at the beginning.

    Trying to tackle that problem now, after extended development of the court portion of CCMS, could wind up being like chasing a rainbow to find the pot of gold. If done at the alpha stage, the court side would be adjusted to whatever might be necessary to match up things like core data blocks, field sequences, field types, query types, field syntaxes, file formats, and various other items. Doing it in a situation where the CCMS architecture has to be matched because it’s firmly set in place could easily create impossibilities. The attempts could simply go on forever.

  17. ComputerGeek, it’s good to know that somebody who knows what they are talking about is on top of this CCMS mess. And it’s even better that you want to help. Thank you.

  18. Omerta has been reading the discussion about the cost of CCMS with interest.

    So Omerta contacted, through another person, a MD who ran ( past tense) a large medical practice and put this hypothetical question to him/her: “Assuming you had medical offices in all 58 counties in California and that you had 1,000,000 patients you had to service. That is, you had to keep track of every medical visit they might have made to any of the 58 offices and the procedures they underwent, and the tests they took and the drugs they were prescribed and the follow up emails and letters you had to send them. Further assume that you had to make reports to DMV if they had some medical problems that might cause driving difficulties and you had to make reports to Child Protective Services and the police if you suspected abuse or neglect and further that all gunshot and knife wounds had to be reported to law enforcement. Further you had to keep track of about 50,000 employees and about 1700 doctors: their pay, required education, vacation, and so forth. Assume any of these doctors or employees could look at all of the entries in the system. And finally, the computer system would have to keep track of hundreds of thousands of supplies and reorder those supplies so they would get to any of the 58 offices on time. Give me a “ball park” figure of the cost of such a system? Error on the side of the system costing a lot more than you might think because of hardware, staff training, unexpected problems and such. The figure: $50,000,000.00, t0ps….but, and this is most interesting, he/she said that the first thing I would do is to put it out to a public and competative bid so I would not be hoodwinked by the first company I contacted.

    Upon hearing a description of CCMS and its costs he/she was stunned.

    Omerta hopes the AOC gives a wide distribution of their video on CCMS to every TV station in California because when the taxpaying public sees it they will give it an immediate “Bronx Cheer”. There are a lot of members of the public out there who have a pretty good idea of computers, computer systems, and costs.

    Does anyone find it strange that the AOC has produced NOBODY who has any expertize in this area to validate their claims? They have sent forth Justices Huffman and Hill and Mr. Kelso none of whom are experts in this area.

    • Omerta, you are on the right track with your MD example. And putting something out to bid is an interesting idea. But there’s an even better approach and here’s why. The problem that can be inherent in the bid/RFP approach is people who don’t know what they’re doing creating an RFP. Then the RFP is floated around for bids. At that point, the project is already doomed.

      I saw that problem in the CalWIN project in spades. I spoke with one of the people involved in creating the RFP and she was clueless. So the RFP contained items that ranged from foolish to impossible to downright silly. That was then combined with people who write code containing thousands of errors. The result is the hopelessly flawed CalWIN and CBMS.

      In your MD example, you need to stick to just the type of description you gave to your MD friend. I.e., keep it in plain English. Don’t try to specify any technical details. The level of technology knowledge required to even consider specifying technical details is way above the level that any intended user or administrator is likely to have. When I created the software for Judge Hamlin, he just told me in plain English what was wrong with what he was seeing. He told me what he needed to do. Other successful software I have created was also based on plain English descriptions of what was desired/needed.

      You mentioned J. Clark Kelso. He is an interesting person, basically a law professor with political connections. His software knowledge is about 25 to 30 years out of date. He used to play around with mainframe code years ago. When I spoke with him briefly at a tech conference it became obvious to me very quickly that he had no substantial knowledge of how to write modern software. People with such connections present a very real danger to the court system because those making decisions, such as the CJ, may not be aware of the problem.

      So the solution to the CCMS is to first educate. I’m ready anytime those with the power to put it into play are ready.

  19. Nathaniel Woodhull

    CCMS is but a symptom of the disease.
    The Chief has a belief, true or not, that the Judicial Branch of California will only be effective if run with one iron fist. Otherwise, chaos and havoc will rain and there will be no uniformity between the courts of the 58 counties.
    As history aptly evidences, autocracies have not had the best batting averages through the ages.
    No one person can effectively manage all aspects of an entity like the California Courts. Unless you have accurate information to start with, mistakes made in this system will be much larger and more expensive.
    CCMS is a perfect example of the flaw in trying to have the courts run by an autocrat.
    The NCSC and Deloitte sold the Chief that CCMS was a key component in his control of the courts. Control the information, control the branch.
    The Chief cannot and will not give up on his quest for CCMS. The ultimate failure, an incredibly costly failure, of this program will be used in undergraduate and graduate public administration courses for decades to come.

  20. I would only add that the desire for profit was a key factor. I do think NCSC wanted to create their own version of a system like PACER that could go national and be used by other states, and they have worked tirelessly to help Deloitte (a major contributor to the NCSC for almost their entire history) to do this. All of this is public information that can be verified by simple web searches. However, it is a topic that cannot be discussed freely at the AOC.

    For example, I did not know until the video piece that 130 people at the AOC work on CCMS. That is a huge level of government inefficiency for a project that has given hundreds of millions of dollars to an outside company. Of course I don’t want people to lose their jobs, but you have other people at the AOC who don’t have even three or four people to help them on their projects. There needs to be some balance and a real strategy for moving forward.

  21. ConcernedReConsolidation

    I strongly suspect other policies, as well, have emanated from the NCSC and have been implemented with the idea that California could become a respected “leader” — to be followed by other states at a fraction of the cost — and now all Californians are paying.

  22. Woodhull- once again your on it! It is all about the Chief’s quest for total control of the branch. Consider also that he must be seeking the creation of regional courts as reflected by recent legislation that creates AOC oversight of parolees through a system of 7-9 regional courts. My question is when did the Judicial Council agree to the creation of such courts? Maybe this explains why the AOC sponsored a trailer bill last summer to allow them to pick trial courts Presiding Judges and CEO’s
    That would have facilitated their elimination of local control of the court system leading to more concentrated power in the hands of the Judicial Council. This blog which is ever growing needs to press forward to urge the legislature to democratize the Judicial Council.Such a system would restore the real power of the courts back to local authority and the people .

  23. Nortius,

    CCMS in L.A. County is only the small claims segment in one courtroom in the Alhambra courthouse.

    CCMS and the LASC’s own system are both used in that courtroom.

  24. lando, good question about those parole re-entry courts. I’ve been wondering about the very same thing. Since the legislation actually references the AOC you would think that someone must have asked the AOC about it before promoting the legislation. The AOC has a website where they list their position on various legislation that impacts the courts. I checked and found no reference to the legislation authorizing these courts. Next thing you know, 10 million dollars from a Federal Stimulus grant is landing in the AOC’s lap – the biggest grant in the country for parole re-entry courts. And who controls the grant money? You guessed it right – the AOC. So, let me see if I’ve got this straight…we’re closing courts for the public and opening courts for parolees? I thought the Federal Stimulus money was for job creation. I guess the AOC gets to create yet a few more jobs to oversee the new courts. What a minute, I just had a new thought! Isn’t J. Clark Kelso, the scholar in residence at the AOC and advisor to the Chief on various and sundry topics also the Receiver appointed by the Federal Court to deal with prison overcrowding? That’s right, he is and not only that but the bill that authorizes the parole reintry courts that the AOC will administer also includes various provisions to reduce the inmate population. It’s so nice how everything fits so neatly in place. Is it possible that Mr. Kelso and the AOC did some behind the scenes lobbying for the passage of the bill that authorizes the parole re-entry courts so that the AOC could then apply for the grant money? And, since Vickrey and the Chief are so tight with NCSC, they would of course be at the front of the line. Afterall, the AOC is so innovative and forward thinking. (Just look to CCMS and the AOC use of Youtube for self promotion.) If the AOC engages in lobbying for or against legislation, shouldn’t this be reported somewhere? The AOC handwriting is all over the place on these parole reentry courts and, the AOC gets to control the whole shebang. Only one drawback, when you accept federal grant money you have to provide whistleblower protection to all those involved in the expenditure of the grant fund. Oops, maybe the AOC didn’t think it all the way through.

  25. ConcernedReConsolidation

    Fascinating, Sunshine. Could you provide the url for the website to which you refer?

  26. Concerned,

    Here are a few links that reference the 10 million dollar grant that the AOC will oversee:

    http://www.reentrycourtsolutions.com/2010/01/12/california-leads-with-10-million-in-reentry-court-funding/

    First line of article, “California has committed itself to the largest prison based reentry demonstation project in the nations history.

    Another article (link) http://www.reentrycourtsolutions.com/2009/11/03/funding-alert-california

    includes the following quote, “This exemplary state effort will be under the direction of the [AOC] Director Bill Vickrey and its program coordinator will be Judge Roger Warren (ret) former President of the National Center for State Courts.

    Let me know if you want more links to the legislation that authorized the courts. There was pretty heavy opposition to the legislation from some law enforcement groups and victim advocacy groups.

    I haven’t seen the AOC itself in their predictable, self lauditory manner actually mention their “win” on being the recipient of this 10 million, but I could have overlooked it.

    Gotta run

  27. Real Party in Interest

    Clark Kelso is the former Scholar in Residence (but remains on call for PR duty). Roger Warren, NCSC, is the current Scholar in Residence.