From the San Francisco Chronicle.
Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a state appellate justice with a reputation as a moderate Republican, was nominated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today to succeed the retiring Ronald George as California’s chief justice.
A Filipina, she would be the second woman and the first non-white to head the state’s judiciary. She would also give the seven-member state Supreme Court a female majority for the first time in its history.
“She is a living example of the American dream,” Schwarzenegger said in announcing his selection of the 50-year-old jurist, whom he named in 2005 to the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.
Thus far, as of this time, I am hearing cautious optimism from the family law front. Research is continuing.
Ron Overholt attended a meeting of the AOC’s Executive Office Program (EOP) this afternoon around 3 p.m. and told the AOC employees in attendance that Governor Schwarzenegger’s nominee for Chief Justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, sits on the Judicial Council and “we’ve known her for about 5 years”, she is an advocate for CCMS and defended CCMS in the media with Justice Hill, that the employees don’t need to “worry about Bill and I”, they “know Tani” and we work very well with her, and he and Bill “aren’t planning on going anywhere.”
Overholt was also asked about the cost and funding of the various courthouse construction projects, and Overholt indicated it was just going to be business as usual as far as courthouse construction.
So, apparently, as indicated from the proverbial horse’s mouth, nothing is changing here and it’s Ron George II.
I have no reason to doubt Justice Cantil-Sakauye is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. She seems very bright and involved in a number of community outreach programs. Her willingness to assist and encourage others is commendable.
As to her philosophy when it comes to judicial branch governance, she toes the party line. She is a firm believer in the current structure of the JC (nothing sees the light of day unless E&P) approves it and JC oversight of the AOC.
I expect she will be deferential to AOC staff and its recommendations. I don’t think she will welcome meaningful debate on the important issues (courthouse construction, CCMS, etc.) and her appointments to the JC will reflect a desire to maintain the status quo.
My opinions are based on direct personal experience with her.
Michael Paul – Great comments. I have no problems with new courthouses or statewide case management systems. In theory, both are laudible goals. However, I would be more inclined to support these projects if the JC/AOC could answer one simple question – “How do you expect to pay for all of this?”
Wendy – Thanks for the update. Did Ron Overholt really refer to Governor’s nominee for Chief Justice of the Calif. Supreme Court as “Tani”, when addressing AOC employees?
I wonder if he would use a first name if referring to a male nominee in the same situation? (In his defense, “Cantil-Sakauye” doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue.)
Note to self – “Proofread before submitting”
“I expect she will be deferential to AOC staff and its recommendations.”
I suggest this single issue caused many of our current problems! It’s much like the tail wagging the dog, is it not? AOC recommendations rubber-stamped like clockwork without a process of checks and balances….
When was the last time the AOC made a recommendation that didn’t protect their own turf? In fact, historically speaking, AOC recommendations have only increased the power they hold over the entire judicial system!
Question: What’s the definition of monopoly??
Answer: California Administrative Office of The Courts
“She is a firm believer in the current structure of the JC (nothing sees the light of day unless E&P) approves it and JC oversight of the AOC. ”
This flies in the face of her public comments about everything being put out for public comment, etc…except for Judicial Branch governance….and votes that are secretly taken by email…..and….and…..and….
JC oversight of the AOC? Therein lies the problem in my eyes. There is no real, meaningful oversight of the AOC. They have been allowed to do whatever they want….and their behavior shows they have more than taken advantage of the loopholes given to them.
The current structure of the JC has not served us properly. The facts on the ground clearly show this to be truth. If something is not working, it’s time to fix it/change it.
If she believes in the current structure of a system that is faulty, then I am unable to give this individual my support.
How indeed do they expect to pay for it all?
We’re relying on a bond to pay for 41 of the 142 new courthouses the AOC expects to build, when and if they find funding. In terms of 2010 dollars and their latest cost estimates for the last approvals, they’re implying that another 15+ billion dollars is needed to complete their ambitious construction goals.
I sat in a courtroom in front of a traffic commissioner in Oakland about two years ago who had an odd procedure. He showed a Judicial Council video on traffic court procedures and after it was completed, he then went on about how this was the Judicial Council’s video about how the procedure should be. He then told everyone that he has a different procedure. He will call your name and call out the amount that you owe on your citation. Not the actual charge that you were being charged with, just the amount of the citation. “You will plead guilty, not guilty or no contest.” He further went on about his “judicial discretion to lower the amount of your citation today has been removed by the judicial council to pay for court construction so please don’t ask”
I was shocked and this served as part of the catalyst that made me take on the status quo, because I believe – and witnessed- that judicial independence at the court level is being affected by JC/AOC’s decisions.
People deserve better. People deserve justice. Not in terms of what the AOC wants to build their next 1900.00 per square foot justice center or to change a 500.00 lightbulb, but in practical terms of what their circumstances might be.
Perhaps I am an idealist. But I don’t believe any judge signed on to be a tax collector.
1. Commissioner/Judge. I don’t recall and think it may have been a judge now. It’s the only citation on my record if you care to look.
2. Traffic School was also an option. (the little window makes proofreading a pain.)
Wendy, I will play devil’s advocate for a moment.
Ron George’s retirement was reportedly a shock. This appointment is reportedly a shock (and I do believe it was a great big shock to those who thought they were possible successors).
I am very sure that Ron G and Ron O and Bill V and Brad H and everyone else have taken the poison pill of Ron G retiring as best they can. And they are all putting as good a face on it as they can. And everyone is walking around in a daze trying to figure out what the he## happened in the last week, and what that means for them. They sure as heck cannot let court employees, or the ACJ, or other court critics know they had a hand -in this. I imagine the speechwriter (if she has one) for Tani may have her saying how honored she is, how wonderful it has been to work with the chief, how she is looking forward to working with everyone, etc. What else can she say at the moment? She has no power. The California Courts website says all construction projects have been launched–how can she stop them? I may sound like a Pollyanna, but I want more information about her before I decide how I feel about her nomination.
I actually think what is closer to the mark is that Ron George was effectively forced out, and no one who was too closely associated with him could be appointed. And that is progress.
And I’m sorry– it is just plain stupid for Ron George and company to go around saying nothing is going to change, because it is offensive, intentionally provocative (especially for court employees), face-saving bulls###. Things have already changed drastically in the last seven days. ASK ANYONE. The CJ is retiring and a relative unknown (whose background is very unlike George’s) has suddenly been appointed.
We haven’t heard anything more from Judge Woodhull, but I am interested in his opinion, and I would also like to know if the ACJ thinks there is hope of working with her. I wonder if they are discreetly going to put out the feelers. Does anyone care to answer?
“The California Courts website says all construction projects have been launched–how can she stop them?”
The AOC’s site is misleading. Only about a dozen projects are currently underway and to rush them through any faster would have a real impact on the quality of the finished product.
As it is, SB1732 staff that have manned these projects are insufficient for the projects currently in design.
As the only IT engineer assigned to new construction I was barely able to keep up on all of these simultaneous projects currently in the design phase. I routinely found myself double-booked by OCCM project managers for design meetings in two different locations, for two different projects at the same time. Staffing issues in IS, Education, ERS and OCCM’s engineering departments would prevent them from taking on more projects than what they currently have in design today. Complicating that, all project managers have developed different processes for managing their projects.
OCCM and the AOC must go on a major hiring binge to get them all in the design phase or risk building an inferior product that will not serve the courts needs.
The design process for a courthouse takes about a year and many, many of these projects are only in the site acquisition phase. It is not too late to mothball some projects and indeed this should be considered.
The reason mothballing should be considered is that there is a serious gap growing between the AOC’s ability to maintain the current 533 structures and the current and anticipated revenues to do so.
The AOC inherited buildings that some counties stopped maintaining over 12 years ago, deferring serious and significant maintenance and upgrades on roofing and mechanical systems and the AOC inherited these issues.
The Facilities Management Unit (FMU) does not have the money to address all of this deferred maintenance that they inherited and is also deferring maintenance. County facilities payments don’t come anywhere close to what it costs to maintain a courthouse today (especially when using KBR and Haliburton’s competitors on a no-bid, sole source basis to do so)
The current funding sources concentrate most of their efforts building new courthouses because they are material accomplishments, even if, due to serious county and court staffing issues, they might no be able to man these buildings. In the coming years, the AOC will have its hand out to the legislature in a big way as the deficiences become more apparent.
Indeed, it appears that all new SB1407 projects are underway as the AOC’s site says. In reality, they have all been approved for the initial funding necessary for site acquisition and/or design.
Of course, I don’t work for the AOC anymore. If I were the one in charge, I would be deferring the construction of many courts or revisiting these construction and site acquisition costs and pegging a PSF budget to the projects.
“If it can’t be built for x dollars per square foot, it won’t be built”
If the local courts and the counties cannot assist in hitting the magic number and staffing the structures full time, then they get mothbolled and the money gets dumped into the abundance of deferred facilities maintenance that is already the AOC’s reality.
Michael you just made this very easy to understand. Thank you. This is precisely the type of information that any new chief will need.
Again, not to be a Pollyanna, but if this type of information is not calmly gathered, memorialized and presented (not just to the new Chief, but to the judiciary committees–all members– and the appropriate members of committees and the Judicial Council)– well then, they will be uninformed. And if they get the information, and do nothing with it–well then, they can’t say they didn’t know. And, down the line, if and when all hell breaks loose, they will be just like all the CJ candidates who knew and did nothing and then had their silence ,or active omissions, or active participation, plastered all over this blog and elsewhere.
The irony of the construction story you tell is in the fact that the AOC has apparently fired their best expert and advisor on this subject.
I am going to be honest– I believe AOC whistleblowers may be at risk in this next few months, as Ron G and his posse understand and deal with what has happened. I could be wrong. They may be too busy trying to clean up after themselves. For myself, I have found that documenting and reporting facts about third branch and administrative retaliatory and other misconduct to the powers that be outside the branch can provide a level of protection (friendly legislators and the entire judiciary committees are a good place to start–two of their members are on the Judicial Council, and they vote on judicial issues, and they will be charged with this knowledge). And I believe that continued, loud demand for proper whistleblower protection is imperative, no matter what.
Coalitions have been built in the past year around the goal of removing Ron George and changing the branch for the better, and we can help each other. Whistleblower protection- vote yes. Democratization of the council–vote yes. Implementation of Judicial Performance Evaluations– vote yes.
Perhaps, in looking at what has happened as a result of the current my-way-or-the-highway approach, the new administration will be inclined to collaborate and consider new and reasonable options, with an open mind.
If not, well, courtflea is right in his midnight post.
Justice California – there has never been a time when AOC whistleblowers weren’t at risk, and witch hunts of AOC employees are nothing new. It’s just easier for Bill V and Ron O now because they have continually gotten away with it, nothing has been done to hold them accountable and there is nothing to indicate that anyone ever will, and everyone is so afraid. Especially in the HR Division where employees have even been told they shouldn’t talk to each other and the current Director and Assistant Director have installed closed circuit TVs with put video monitors in their offices to track employees every move, especially the ones they still want to get rid of.
As has been said before, AOC employees will believe positive change is coming for them and the toxic environment they work in when it actually happens. And so far, that hasn’t come, no one is expecting it to, and there isn’t any reason to believe that it will.
It’s hard to support and rally around the nominee for the new Chief Justice when AOC employees have no reason to believe that it isn’t going to be any different than it is now.
And in may just get worse.
Wendy Darlin, sounds Ron O the clown is in denial and or is sounding the desperate cries of a dying man. I don’t care who George’s replacement is but the bottom line is that both of these clowns are a liability….one a new CJ can’t afford. And if the Justice can’t figure that out, well she will have to face the alliance (of all of us) just like king George did. And supporting CCMS?! lets see how long that lasts when she is in the hot seat. Maintaining the King George party line would be very difficult for anyone politically, especially a newbie…..so she supports illegal activity?? Time will tell but my money is on her covering her own ass down the road. The change may come slow, but it will, just in order for her to survive.
Our new CJ used to work as a blackjack dealer, so we are told.
You got to know when to hold’em, when to fold’em
Know to walk away, know when to run
You never count your money, when you’re sittin’ at the table
there’ll be time enough for countin’, when the dealin’s done.
For sure there will be some changes starting January 2, 2011.
Our new CJ will not confuse a Judicial Council meeting with a session of court. Our new CJ will address judges by their correct title when said judges appear at Judicial Council meetings. Our new CJ will not call her critics “shrill” or “uninformed” even when she does not agree with them. Our new CJ will not permit other members of the JC or the AOC to use such language.
Our new CJ will not call into question her moral compass by attending edgy “Masked Balls”
As to CCMS, 1407 funds, gifts to the AOC, the hiring of ex-senators while staff is being laid off, the Whistleblower statute, the Trial Court Bill of Rights, and all of the other issues we need to see what happens.
I have reason to believe that some members of the Judicial Council and the AOC read this blog. Here is my suggestion: our new CJ needs to make her own way with her own people. All of you who are appointed to the Judicial Council by Chief Justice George should submit your resignations effective on January 2, 2011 or when accepted by the new Chief Justice. This does not mean that you have done anything wrong or have failed in any aspect of your duties. It does mean that you care for the success of the new Chief Judge more than you care for your own career. I am sure all of you know that this is the custom when there is a new President or even when the President is reelected. It will not do for you to say that if she asks for my resignation I will submit it as this will cause her unnecessary distress.
The above also applies to all upper management of the AOC and to the heads of any committees established by the current Chief Justice.
Please do the right thing and give our new CJ the support she needs and deserves.
Here’s another article that might be of interest to all. Just hit the link and click on today’s first article.
Thanks for the article link.
While who can say for sure at this point what avenue this will take, statements like this concern me the most:
“George said he was ‘greatly reassured’ by the nomination, adding that he was ‘firmly convinced she would carry forward in the same manner’ as he has as chief justice.”
I truly hope she *IS* open to persuasion….as Justice Vance Raye suggests, and that this is done based on the absolute truth….and not the various versions of the truth as is commonly recommended by the AOC.
Right on Omerta. I don’t think Jhuffman could take having to report to 2 females, his PJ and now CJ.
As I said before and as have many others, she cannot afford the baggage left over by a political parriah.
I agree with both Omerta and courtflea —
most especially, anyone involved in and tainted by scandal needs to gracefully and quickly bow out, for the sake of the entire branch.
Otherwise. . . .well, let’s look at what Marin’s Kim Turner has done for the branch.
She and her predecessor perpetrated or covered for so many bad acts– and she was so arrogant and vengeful, that the list of her enemies is a mile long. For those reasons, some have gone to great lengths to make sure everyone knows this.
And by virtue of a) Ron George’s association with Turner and her scandal-ridden past, and b) her foreseeable reported subsequent involvement in trial court misconduct (the destruction of court custody records while the legislative audit was pending), I do believe she, in her own way, helped take down Ron George.
No, the new CJ doesn’t need that type of thing at all.
The branch needs a good pruning, sunshine, and fresh air.
Posted today, July 22, 2010, on Legal Pad, the legal blog for CalLaw, by Cheryl Miller:
Introduction of Newly Nominated Tani Cantil-Sakauye All Good Vibes
It was billed as an introduction, but Thursday’s Capitol gathering for chief justice nominee Tani Cantil-Sakauye was more pep rally than formality.
As Cantil-Sakauye walked toward the cavernous rotunda with outgoing Chief Justice Ronald George and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a crowd comprised of Cantil-Sakauye’s family, numerous judges and lawmakers burst into loud applause. “We love you, Tani!” someone yelled to the Sacramento native who would be California’s first Filipina chief justice.
Nodding to her two school-aged children in the front row, Cantil-Sakauye noted that their grandparents were former field workers and World War II internees. “Is history remarkable or what?” she said.
After exchanging compliments with Schwarzenegger and George at a podium, Cantil-Sakauye slipped away before reporters had a chance to quiz her. But George stuck around to sing her praises to reporters.
“I think this will go down as one of the most outstanding legacies of the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger,” George said.
I think Omerta, Courtflea and JusticeCalifornia have a very good point. Submit your resignations, you have been appointed by the present Chief Justice, and let our new CJ chart her own course. You owe it to her and to the public. Sacrifice, for once, your political aspirations.
Should not Chief Justice George, if he really wants to have a new Chief Justice who is independent , ask everyone he has appointed to submit their resignations? Our new Chief Justice can either accept or reject these resignations as she sees fit. I think, as a final demonstration of his dedication to a strong judicial branch, he should do this.
As pointed out this is the normal situation when a new President takes office. A new CJ is similar to having a new President.
We have a new person at the helm. She deserves our support but also our watchful eye. If she has her own team on board this will give the public encouragement that the judicial branch is what it purports to be: dedicated to the public good,open, transparent, responsible, prudent, and willing to change with the times.
Out with the old, in with the new.
Speaking of dead wood and failed policies, I was wondering, what qualities and skills must an ethical, responsible new AOC Chief Director have?
Ron O and crew are liabilities. I mean, let’s face it, this blog came about because of how the AOC has operated (wastefully, problematically) and retaliated (brutally) under their watch. Their style of administration has inspired mutiny and lawsuits, not admiration and inspiration.
Re HR, Fuentes got sued already, at one of his last jobs, right (transportation)? So Ron O and Ron G cannot say they didn’t know he had a bad rep, right? But they are letting him continue to terrorize employees, right? And they are spending money installing cameras to spy on employees, while Rome burns, right? (I wonder how much that cost. Note: add that to the growing tally of defense costs for bad third branch behavior. Other note: I wonder if they have cameras in the shredding room, and if they keep the tapes of who is shredding what? If not, why not? Given Govt. Code 6200, it seems like that would be a good idea.)
Ron O, your every move is being watched. Don’t make things worse than they already are, for you, the old chief, the new chief, and for the branch. Back off. And call off the attack dogs, because perhaps one day you will be held responsible for the bites.
In fact, perhaps a comprehensive, frank, fact-based resume of bad acts and failed policies under Ron O.’s watch is being put together right now for presentation to the new chief, and others (including of course, our Judicial Council member/legislators and judiciary committee members).
So no one can say they didn’t know.
The inside track info at the AOC is that the new Bill V/Executive Officer, assuming there is going to be one, is Jody Patel, the current Regional Area Director (RAD) in Sacramento at the AOC’s Northern California Regional Offices, and a favorite of Vickrey and Overholt. Patel came to the AOC from the Sacramento Superior Court, the same as the nominee to succeed as Chief Justice. There have been some internal indications at the AOC this week, such as Patel’s sudden attendance and participation in AOC internal management meetings, that this is the likely selection, but no announcement. Patel is as feared among AOC employees as much as Vickrey and Overholt, and for good reason.
As for Director Fuentes, he not only got sued for wrongful termination, retaliation against whistleblowers, and other misconduct at the Los Angeles Rapid Transit District. Fuentes also got sued for essentially the same thing his very first year as HR Director at the AOC, as well as numerous additional complaints filed against him, and Assistant Director Couch, internally at the AOC, EEOC, and DFEH, not to mention the unreported embezzlement, improper hires and promotions, misuse and gifts of public funds, etc.. Vickrey and Overholt have been on full notice about the misconduct in the HR Division for over four years and nothing has been done about either one of them. Consequently their conduct, and the conduct of HR management under them, has just gotten worse. No one expects things to get any better under Patel, and the way things usually go, either Fuentes or Couch, or both, will just end up getting promoted.
Wendy, all of this has to be put included in that resume that is being prepared.
As for Patel– same thing. If there is evidence of similar acts, it needs to be marshalled and presented NOW, before the new chief officially selects Ron O’s successor.
Everyone has to be told, and then no one can say they didn’t know.
I really believe the key at this point is documenting and reporting– before the new administration is installed, the new chief must be given every opportunity to review all evidence of what everyone has done–otherwise how can she be held accountable?
This resume must also be presented to the legislature (Judicial Council members, and members of the judiciary), the attorney general, and the old and new governor.
This is not a waste of time. Down the line, when the taxpayers are screaming about waste and criminal acts and a $4.4 billion budget without oversight. . . .no one can say they didn’t know.
Incidentally, this provides protection for the new chief, as well. It will give her the opportunity and information she may need to politely ask for resignations.
In their infinite wisdom, they already have her as being accountable because they trotted her out as the chair of the AOC oversight committee that she was appointed to just about a month ago and sang her praises as the chair of this committee.
Has this committee even met yet?
At least six lawsuits related to matters covered in this blog will be on her plate. Some will be going to trial shortly after she walks into office on day one. Two of those suits allege the doctrine of unclean hands and collusion. Shouldn’t that spark a criminal investigation?
I am in the camp of JusticeCalifornia, courtflea and Judge Maino. For the good of the branch, everyone on the Judicial Council and any AOC employee with the title Manager, Senior Manager, Assistant Director or Director as a part of their title should submit their resignations for her consideration.
This will allow our new chief justice to look at the facts on the ground and accept those resignations where appropriate. Furthermore, Chief Justice George should ask for those resignations before he leaves the office he holds.
omerta is also in that camp of people asking for those resignations. (sorry omerta for ommitting you when it was your idea….)
I am also of like mind with you Michael Paul, Omerta, JusticeCalifornia, courtflea, and Judge Maino, that for the good of the branch, everyone on the Judicial Council and any AOC employee with the title Manager, Senior Manager, Assistant Director or Director as a part of their title should submit their resignations and also that the current Chief Justice should request those resignations as a professional courtesey before he leaves office.
The question remains whether this will actually happen, and then what, if anything, the new Chief Justice will do about what has been going on, and continues to happen, within the AOC. Until then, it’s all just wishful thinking.
A year ago, few would have thought that what happened this month was in the realm of possibility.
I never underestimate the power of manifestation (as in ” a public demonstration of power and purpose”).
What you ask has already been done, many times over.
All of this has been documented, over and over again, including to the places the you mention such as the State legislature, the Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Oversight, the Attorney General’s Office, and other places as well. There already is documentation showing the documentation, and that it has already been provided. It’s either been ignored, covered up, or no one would or has accepted responsibility or jurisdiction, or actually done anything about it. The only thing it has resulted in is AOC employees getting fired, punished, and humiliated, especially in the HR Division, and then it just gets worse.
No one in any position of responsibility or authority, whether at the AOC, including the Office of the Chief Justice and the Executive Office, as well as the State legislature and other enforcement offices, can say they didn’t know or weren’t informed, unless they can also prove they were and are deaf, dumb, and blind.
And AOC employees are no longer willing to have any more line staff employees left in the pile of dead employees outside the door of the HR Director, Assistant HR Director, or the Executive Office. The price has already been too heavy and too high.
I think you will eventually discover that the investigative media has but barely scratched the surface. Patience; they’re working on it.
Many, many, many of us hope you are right Michael Paul.
Certain members of the press have already expressed to me that this story is much larger than any one media outlet can cover and is statewide. No one press organization has the resources to cover a story of this magnitude anymore and that’s a shame. And that’s why we’re informed that coalitions are forming to cover the story.
That is what I hear too.
Jody Patel! what a joke! I don’t think so. Her background is this: she worked at the state controllers office before being appointed to take Mike Roddy’s place as CEO of the SACTO court. Why who knows? Were she and Mike tight (we can speculate on that endlessly about how or why) Her sidekick who also worked with her at the Controllers office, Curt Soderlund was brought in along with her to SACTO. And of course now he is working with Jody for the northern region of the state, Jody being appointed gee wiz after Mike Roddy left that position (what does he owe her?). What a dog gone coinsidence! And of course there was no recruitment for Curt’s postion(s) at the regional office.
My money is on, if they give him the right money, is Mike Roddy, former CEO of SACTO court, former northern region RAD now CEO of the San Diego Superior Court making more salary than any CEO in the state. Plus I heard there was a lot of bad blood between Patel and the bench when she left to become the northern region RAD. Just sayin. We shall see.
No matter what or how long it takes bill, ron o, and sheila are outta there. Chris Patton RAD for the bay area may escape under the radar, but that is it. Deservedly or not, Ms. Patel has been painted with the same political parriah brush as the rest of the group.
Once the new admin comes in, I suspect Mr. Fuentes will retire or be gone shortly thereafter. It is nice that these folks are all at will employees for the new CJ to do as she desires, if they choose not to leave gracefully.
All I can say my fellow bloggers/readers is that we are certainly in for some interesting times ahead. As Betty Davis said in All About Eve, “fasten your seatbelts gentlemen, we are in for a bumpy ride!”
May the force be with you as these changes occur.
As was once said by the J.M. Barrie character, Wendy Darling, “follow the star, straight on ‘tll morning”.
Let’s just all hope that really can be a happy ending. The line staff employees at 455 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco will believe it when it happens. Until then, it’s just a fairy tale, and, so far, not a very good one.
For those of you with subscription access to CalLaw – The Recorder, 2 articles of interest posted today, 7/23/2010:
Advice for Cantil-Sakauye on Filling Some Big Shoes
By Mike McKee | 7/23/10 2:05 PM
SAN FRANCISCO — Will she be in the mold of Ronald George? A reincarnation of Rose Bird? A Malcolm Lucas in women’s clothing? She should be none of those, lawyers, law professors, judges and…
Governor, Chief Moved Quickly on Court Pick
By Cheryl Miller | 7/23/10 3:51 PM
If any of you have access, maybe you could share?
Speaking of manifestation, let’s think about this issue of a new AOC chief.
What would an ideal candidate look like? Judges and employees on this blog can best answer that.
I can say this– as someone familiar with the family law front, candidates who are current or former trial court CEO’s who have looked the other way on problematic trial and family court behavior are going to encounter resistance and invite scathing exposes and criticism of the Kim Turner kind. Many mothers and fathers and their advocates statewide are hopping mad about their local family court administration (and that means above and beyond bench members).
It is a fact that San Diego, Michael Roddy’s turf, is a major hotbed of loud and public demonstration about problems in family court administration.
And, Sacramento is undergoing a legislative family court audit after years of complaints by fathers and mothers that bad actors were making recommendations about child custody, with the knowledge and blessing of court administration. . .
Just my thoughts. No one should underestimate the power and determination of angry mothers and fathers who have lost their children in certain hotbed courts. And there are a lot of them.
The Judicial Council’s own research shows that family law litigants are some of the most dissatisfied with the judicial branch.
So, to the extent possible, steering clear of court administrators criticized about their performance at the trial court level is probably a good idea. Just my opinion.
Without doubt Justice California, you are not alone; there are many many people who share that opinion.
I was not recommending Mike Roddy, just placing my bets on him 🙂
he is pretty smooth.
I hope you guys are right about the investigative reporting. Look what the LA times uncovered in the city of Bell in SoCal….a city of 40k souls and the city manager makes over $800k yowwza. Part time city council members making over $100k! End result, city manager, assist. city manager and chief of police all resigned over their high wage issue and it looks like the council members are not far behind.
If an investigation by the press of the JC/AOC can get that kind of results, I would love it!
Mike Roddy may be smooth, and a current CJ favorite, but Sacramento and San Diego mothers, fathers and judges have been among the most vocal protesters of the status quo.
If someone can’t make it at the county level without controversy, that person should not be considered at the state level.
And therein was Ron George’s mistake. He surrounded himself with, and supported and protected, whomever supported his agenda. No matter the consequences.
And we, and the world, are seeing the consequences.
Those who do not learn from history, repeat it.
Let me amend my statement. “Controversy” is not the right word. Lots of controversial people have been great and wonderful leaders.
However, if someone cannot make it at the county level without legitimate complaints about misconduct and/or unethical behavior, that person should not be considered at the state level.
What are the skills and attributes an ideal AOC Chief must have?
Say it, name it, be specific.
Start with high personal accountability, ethics and integrity at all times and in all ways, in word, practice, and conduct. Without those, nothing else really matters.
And if no one listens. . . .a glimmer of what will come. . .
sorry L.A. ACJ:
It may happen faster than you think.
Full Disclosure Network is about to run their own series on the AOC and Judicial Council.
If you’re willing to go on the record in this series, you should contact in Southern California ldutton (at symbol)fulldisclosure.net or in Northern California specialinvestigations (at symbol) shadowmountainnews.com
This is one of the media coalitions I’m aware of.
Michael, were do you find the full disclosure network? is it a publication, website or a cable channel? Cause I’d love to see what they are going to do! Thanks
A rather unimpressive website.
I would LOVE to see Leslie Dutton sink her teeth into the CJ, AOC and JC stories as she has the Richard Fine, SBX211 story.
She has done thorough stories from the beginning about Fine/SBX211, and has generated interest from other media.
Does the Fine/SBX211 story serve as a warning to court critics that they better shut up, or a warning to the world of what the California third branch has become?
Or how about this more comprehensive CNN story, with 3 videos?
Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.
And that is where this story about the CA judicial branch is going. CCMS. The most expensive courthouses in the country. Supreme Court judges voting to allow themselves to take tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from litigants. Third branch retaliation. Court corruption covered up at the highest levels–with the willing assistance of certain “talented” go-to appellate justices. Intellectual dishonesty at all levels of the courts, to achieve a desired outcome. Quid Pro Quo.Brutal third branch administrative hitmen and women (Turner, Fuentes– “we deal with your whistleblowers, but good”). Judges forced into Oliver Twist mode with the CJ (“More? You want more?”) Good parents losing their children and getting supervised visits in CA family courts, at the hands of therapy hacks, hired guns, and bad judges.
It is intolerable, really.
And that is undoubtedly why Ron George had to leave, and did leave.
It’s fair to state that if Ms. Dutton wasn’t persistently hammering away at SBx211 and the Richard Fine matter, no one else would have likely picked it up and it would simply fade into the pages of history.
Posted today, July 25th, 2010, in the Recorder, the on-line website for CalLaw:
Viewpoint: Ronald George Is a Chief Justice to Emulate
Arturo J. González
July 23, 2010
Like many Californians, I was surprised and somewhat disappointed by Chief Justice Ronald George’s recent announcement that he would not be seeking re-election to his seat on the California Supreme Court. His decision will mean a loss for California and its residents, but his remarkable record shows that he certainly has earned the time he seeks to spend with his family, to read and to travel.
Chief Justice George is well-known for his extraordinary administrative skills and his efforts to transform the California judiciary into a truly co-equal branch of our government. The chief is also rightfully respected for the numerous path-breaking decisions he has penned during his tenure.
His shoes will be difficult to fill. Chief Justice George has done a masterful job of balancing the many diverse and competing views of our sitting justices. Like Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, our chief justice has frequently cast the critical swing vote on many 4-3 decisions. In other cases, he has used his persuasive and personable talents to forge a majority of more than four.
These accomplishments are the marks of a strong leader who has made an important positive difference to his state and its people. They are the deeds of someone who has deftly and expertly commanded the big stage of our government.
Less well-known, however — but at least equally important — are the immense contributions the chief justice has quietly and modestly made to programs like our nationally recognized pro bono services program, the Volunteer Legal Services Program of The Bar Association of San Francisco (VLSP), and our Barristers Club.
Chief Justice George recognizes that as the top jurist in our nation’s most populous state, his unique position transcends politics and carries enormous responsibilities. When he speaks, people listen. If he attends a function, it must be important.
Among the numerous events our chief has attended over the years are many of BASF’s programs to serve those less fortunate. His advocacy for pro bono work has spanned a range of efforts and made an indelible impact on access to justice in California. Year after year, he cheerfully assumes a major role in VLSP’s Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service reception, where he personally recognizes VLSP volunteers for their dedication to representing low-income clients. His commitment to promoting pro bono work both through VLSP and statewide is evident in his support of pro bono initiatives throughout California, and his adroit focus on making deep and meaningful change in the fairness of our judicial system.
For more than 25 years, our Barristers Club, a group composed of attorneys in their first 10 years of practice, has hosted our Judges’ Reception. The reception is BASF’s leading event for bringing together members of the bench with practitioners in a casual setting. Each year, for the many years he has participated, the chief justice has been the first judge to R.S.V.P. More importantly, he also typically is the first jurist to arrive; and he stays the length of the event, kindly engaging with everyone and anyone who approaches him.
He didn’t have to do any of this. We all know the extreme demands on the chief justice’s time and attention. He could easily have politely declined our invitations due to his heavy workload, and we would have understood. But he did not decline. Time and again he has generously and unassumingly given of himself. I do not think there is a way to measure adequately the impact his commitment has had on our attorney volunteers who help those in desperate need of legal assistance, or on our newest attorneys, who have had the opportunity to interact so freely with a lawyer at the pinnacle of our profession.
At its gala in 2008, the BASF Foundation named Chief Justice George a Champion of Justice, the highest honor our foundation bestows upon members of the Bay Area legal community. It did so in recognition of his long-standing work as chief justice to expand access to justice for all California residents, protect and advance civil rights, and ensure the fair administration of our courts and judicial system, as well as for his steadfast support of our programs over many years.
Mr. Chief Justice, you’ve done, and continue to do so much for our profession, and for the people we serve. You have set a high bar for your successor. At The Bar Association of San Francisco, we hope that the next chief justice will be as good a friend to us as you have been over many years. We thank you for your service and for the great example you have set for all of us.
Arturo J. González is president of The Bar Association of San Francisco and co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s litigation department.