Court Closures: And Then There Were Two

Yes, it’s that time of the month when the courts close its doors. Now listen, I’m not delusional in the least. I’m fully aware that just as there are many people who disliked the court closures, there are also a great many people who’ve now become accustomed to the idea of an “unofficial holiday” once a month they actually look forward to it. Even if it means it’s an unpaid one. So, let’s ask the question. Are you going to miss the court closures? Do you think there was some actual benefit to the courts being closed? Do you want to see them resume in the next fiscal year? Inquiring minds want to know as that tabloid’s catch phrase once said.

And yes, I’m still here. Battling a serious combination of allergies and a cold that has driven me to distraction. Regular posting to resume soon.

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22 responses to “Court Closures: And Then There Were Two

  1. Whether courts are open or not is fundamental to our elected office. Any discussion on closing the courts should involve every elected member of the Judicial Branch. Such a conversation may be unwieldy, but that just supports the need for decision-making on the local level.

    Here in our county, we had a plan that would have allowed us to stay open. Other courts needed to close down once a month. Local decision-making would have allowed the local judges of each Superior Court to make the best decision for their courts. If it’s to be done branch-wide, then the Chief Justice and Judicial Council need to allow all of us who are elected to be this branch’s members to make the branch’s decision.

    Popular vote among ~17oo judges? As I said, unwieldy; but it’s the right way to make a decision that goes to the fundamental purpose of our elected office.

    Tim Fall
    Judge, Yolo Superior Court

  2. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    The voluntary furlough days, as long as savings aren’t leveraged to give raises to a privileged few is a viable method to save the branch money. It permits any employee to eliminate as many work days as permitted with a commensurate cut in compensation and allows all operations of the judicial branch to operate, albeit with reduced staffing levels. It is a far better choice than involuntary furloughs and shutting the courts down. It permits those who can afford to to take a pay cut and get one or more days off a month in exchange.

    Example: offer all judicial branch employees up to 4 days a month off voluntarily and I bet the voluntary consessions made by some will more than offset all savings derived by a furlough wednesday and manage to keep the courts open.

    Courts still operate when people are on vacation so look at this as a more frequent vacation schedule that benefits the courts, the people and the employees who can afford and want to take the voluntary furlough. Lots of volunteers will buy off on a long weekend plan.

  3. I’m for any cost-saving measure that does not limit access to justice for the citizens of California beyond holidays. If court staff currently work on furlough days, then they certain can rotate schedules to accomodate full access to at least one court in every county. LA is the size of a county, so I would push for more than 1 in LA. But you get the point. No limits on access to justice created by a shut door. Period.

  4. Sorry, meant LA is the size of a COUNTRY. LOL

  5. Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, Case Number: CGC-09-495036
    Title: JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA, VS. JACOBS FACILITIES, INC. et al
    Cause of Action: CONTRACT/WARRANTY

    APR-16-2010 CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT FILED BY PLAINTIFF JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA, ADMIN. OFC. OF THE COURTS. JURY DEMANDED, ESTIMATED TIME FOR TRIAL: 5.0 DAYS

  6. Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco
    Case Number: CGC-09-495035
    Title: JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA, VS. ALEUT GLOBAL SOLUTIONS, LLC et al
    Cause of Action: CONTRACT/WARRANTY

    APR-16-2010 CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT FILED BY PLAINTIFF JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA, ADMIN. OFC. OF THE COURTS. JURY DEMANDED, ESTIMATED TIME FOR TRIAL: 5.0 DAYS

    • JusticeCalifornia

      Ray O’Light, do tell!

      What is up with these cases and filings, for those of us who cannot run to the court and get a copy?

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      Ray, you may have missed Aleut’s answer and cross complaint. Aleut claims that the AOC owes them 4 million dollars for their services as a property manager and not a general contractor.

      If Pink Floyd can make pigs fly, the attorneys for Aleut believe they can too.

      Good luck there.

      • Oh, I saw those documents. Aleut will win before a jury. They were hired by the AOC, directed to do work by the AOC, and then were paid by the AOC for services rendered (until the AOC, very late in the game decided to bring up the contractor issue). The fact that both of these cases may go to jury, costing taxpayer money and involvment of the CA Attorney General of California, should be a major red flag for everyone in the judicial branch. Even if the cses settle out, taxpayers have to pay for it. Why does the Judicial Council not demand any kind of accountability? What is their function or duty, and do they know that they are a constitutionally-mandated body designed to oversee and protect the judicial branch?

  7. Judicial Council Governance Policies, June 2008

    C. Accountability of the Administrative Director
    The Administrative Director is accountable to the council and the Chair for the
    performance of the Administrative Office of the Courts. The Administrative Director’s
    charge is to accomplish the council’s goals and priorities, while avoiding the use of
    illegal, imprudent, or unethical means.

  8. Thank you the link WBF. It is along the lines of what I expected. CCMS is an admirable goal. However …

    – Lack of governance.
    – Lack of proper planning.
    – Lack of proper oversight.
    – Inadequate project management.
    – Failure to follow major IT project protocols that Legislature and Executive branches must follow.
    – Too deferential to project consultant for management, fees and personnel (and by deferential, I mean $uper deferential)
    – Lack of stakeholder buy-in (full participation of all 58 trial courts)
    – Lack of funding to finish the project
    – Lack of plan to finish the project
    – Risky arrangement with Deloitte regarding pay for fixes

    Without knowing the overall budget or costs to date, or the current plan or projections, CIO did the best they could.

  9. PS, does anyone know if the AOC received any submissions for this RFI regarding alternative CCMS funding? The deadline was March 4.

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/reference/rfp/ccms-altfunds-rfi.htm

  10. PSS, Deadline for the RFI was then extended to April 23, 2010 (last Friday). I would think the AOC would at least update the public about whether anyone responded with a submission? Even a chart next week of the names of proposers would be nice (or simply, “no submissions,” if that is the case). This is not the KGB, it’s California.

  11. Wendy Darling

    What a surprise …

  12. W.D. – other reading if you are bored

    Plaintiff: Patrik Nylund
    Defendants: Justina Abueg, Peter Allen, Angel Bayangos, Dianne Bolotte, Mark Gelade, Kenneth Kann, John Palmer, Cynthia Passon, David Power, Andrew Sommer, Nancy Spero, Brian Taylor, Phyllis Treige and Fredric Trester

    Case Number: 3:2008cv03461
    Filed: July 17, 2008

    Court: California Northern District Court
    Office: Civil Rights: Other Office
    County: San Francisco
    Presiding Judge: Hon. Susan Illston

  13. Thank you – I will check that out.

    The Nylund case is closed, but there is an allegation in the Complaint, paragraph 72, that is extremely disturbing.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      You might want to post paragraph 72 for those without pacer or federal court access?

  14. Nylund, First Amended Complaint, filed July 21, 2008, paragraph 72.

  15. Any good lawyer or judge reads the entire complaint. In SF: 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 16th Floor for free access to review. If you work for a court or the AOC and you do not have access to PACER, a librarian should be able to help you find a copy.

  16. JusticeCalifornia

    The whistleblower and judicial war blogs are closed, but here is some hot news about another variation of effective (but unpleasant) court oversight and whistleblowing:

    http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/judge-blasts-judges-chelsea-king-amber-dubois-deaths/story?id=10578486

    I don’t know this San Diego judge , but from my “outsider” perspective her message is loud and clear.

    You all should read the writ this San Diego judge filed about the San Diego courts, and rethink exactly why EVERY judge has a VERY personal interest in making sure the law is followed– in his or her courtroom, and in every other courtroom. For all those good judges out there who think they can tend to their own courts, while plugging their ears, putting blinders on, and following gag orders regarding corruption elsewhere– this case shows why you cannot.

    Right or wrong, this case calls into question the integrity of ALL San Diego courts — and in fact, all judges.

    Now, all I did was read the writ. Maybe others know more, but that writ is pretty darned detailed.