LA Times Profile of Judge Charles McCoy

Charles “Tim” McCoy, presiding judge of the Los Angeles County Superior
Court, wants to divert state money for court repairs and construction and
instead use it to offset deep budget cuts.  (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times / July 15, 2009)

At times, he says, he’s a pilot flying at 30,000 feet with engine problems; other times, he’s at the helm of a sinking boat that’s quickly running out of gas.

Whatever the analogy, Los Angeles County Presiding Judge Charles “Tim” McCoy’s message is loud and clear: His court system, the largest trial court in the nation, is facing deep fiscal trouble in the years ahead due to drastic cuts in state government funding.

To save his court from ruin, McCoy has advocated tapping a pool of money that’s supposed to fund court repairs and construction. But the proposed money-grab is ruffling feathers in other parts of the state, setting up a rare political tussle among the state’s judges.

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5 responses to “LA Times Profile of Judge Charles McCoy

  1. ok I have to say it and no one will like it. I appreciate the work of judge McCoy and the others in LA (and yes Judge Horan you still rock). I have hesitated to say this but, while LA right now apprears to be on the same agenda as everyone else, BUT LA usually has its own agenda and it may no be in the best interest of the rest of the courts in the state. Just sayin, we need to be a bit wary before we throw our hat in the ring with LA. Remember, LA got the legislature/AOC to agree to divert underfunded courts revenue (mostly small courts in the state) to themselves and other larger courts. Even after LA voted to support the additional funding to underfunded courts at a JC meeting. Of course, they blamed it on union demands for more $$ for staff locally and that they desperately needed the money to avoid layoffs but, humm to0 convientent for me, if you ask me. But I is just a little flea………..

    Sorry, I do love LA but I am a bit concerned. I would advise those of you that can make an impact on the future governance of the JC and the branch, just to keep that in mind.

  2. Courtflea – it’s all in the way you look at the underfunded court funding source. That source was the state appropriation limit (SAL). In order for the underfunded courts to get some money to bring them up other courts got less. The undefunded courts got a greater percentage while those that were considered adequately got a smaller percentage. So some courts may have felt this was fair while others thought not. When the Legislature forced a change in the SAL allocation to sort of smooth out the percentage each that each court got many saw this as fair. My view is that many courts were not adequately funded and the SAL was intended to be equally distributed to all courts to meet the annual cost of doing business changes and other priorities. Efforts to bring certain courts up to some median level of funding should be funded out of a pot of money separate from SAL and exclusively dedicated to funding equalization. Or else all we have is a robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario – this is unfair to all of the trial courts and pits us against one another. Hmmm…could it be that Is exactly what the CJ and AOC wants???

  3. I have worked with Judge McCoy and he is a Judge of great integrity and intellect. The issue here is how should each local court determine the best way to work through this long term economic crisis. If the leaders of the LA courts believe it is best to suspend building new courts so they can keep the ones they have running we in other courts should respect in that. If Judge O’Malley believes building a new court in Pittsburg best serves her county then I respect that as well. What I find objectionable is that the CJ , and AOC believe they should dictate what is right for each court using a one size fits all approach. The legislature needs to please act to start meaningful oversight hearings of the JC and AOC. Only then will some light be brought on the antidemocratic views that currently control our branch of government.

  4. Wise employee gave a good run down. I don’t want to pit us against each other we just need to be all on the same page. My hope is that if the ACJ gets done what needs to be done, is that a democratic process to run the branch will remain the goal.