Those of you who read this blog and live in the Bay Area probably got the chance this evening to view a terrific piece on the Alliance of California Judges and its battle to bring transparency and accountability to the Judicial Council and the AOC. The piece that aired on KGO 7 and presented by KGO reporter Vic Lee was spot on in every way. And although it could have been longer and more in-depth, I thought it did a great job highlighting who the major players are and what the main arguments are.
VIDEO UPDATE: I’m having problems embedding the video here so to view the video of the news piece click here or on the link below.
I’m including a link if you’d like to read the entire transcript of the piece. As soon as KGO uploads the piece in video format I’ll embed it here as well.
Rebellion in the California court system
They call themselves “the alliance.” Others call them rebels. They are a group of California judges who say the state’s judicial branch is no longer serving the people and they are demanding reform.
Last month, Judge David Lampe from Kern County made a public appeal to the California Judicial Council to stop closing courthouses one day a month. It is a decision the council says it made because of the state’s budget crisis.
Lampe says his plea fell on deaf ears.
“I believe that a lot of judges felt they did not have a sufficient voice in the decision that closed our courts,” he said.
That decision was made by the 27 judges who sit on the judicial council. They make statewide policy and administer the multi-billion dollar budget for California’s courts. Members of the judicial council are appointed by the chief justice of the state supreme court, who also presides over its meetings. The council’s staff is called the AOC, short for Administrative Office of the Courts.
The court closures and employee furloughs have triggered an open revolt against the council by some of California’s 1,700 judges.
“A very insular, elite group of folks has run this branch for now 15 years or so,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charles Horan.