Assembly Committee to AOC: More Spending Information Needed

An Assembly oversight committee wants more information on how much money the state agency overseeing California’s judicial branch is spending on maintenance and upkeep of court buildings.

The request came during Wednesday’s hearing of the Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review. It was the committee’s second hearing on the Administrative Office of the Courts, or AOC, in the past 10 months and is another sign of the increasing scrutiny the Legislature is placing on judicial branch spending during tough budget times.

“The Legislature has the constitutional requirement to fund the other two branches of government – that’s our job,” said Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate. “This is a time for every branch of government to clamp down on costs.”

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260 responses to “Assembly Committee to AOC: More Spending Information Needed

  1. The most positive thing to come from the hearings was the fact that it is clear that AOC/Judicial Branch spending is on the legislators’ radar screen. At some point, someone is going to start asking the Judicial Council members why they approved a $1.3 billion computer system with no funding, no budget, no cost benefit, analysis, etc. Likewise, the legislature or the press will start to aks the JC members why the AOC entered into multi-million dollar contracts with unlicensed contractors and then renewed the contracts with the same contractors, who the AOC was suing. Or why the AOC recommended spending $100+ million from the TCTF when it was clear the JC lacked authority to spend this money on CCMS.

    My suggestion – write, e-mail, call the JC members and let them know that they have a duty to look beyond the recommendations of AOC staff when voting on issues brought before the council.

  2. JusticeCalifornia

    Nice article in today’s Recorder about the deal the Sacramento court cut with the AOC.
    “Sacramento Wins Concessions on Computer System”.

  3. Wendy Darling

    Part 1 of 2

    From: Vickrey, William
    Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 3:48 PM
    To: AOC Users-All
    Subject: Update on Assembly Hearing and State Budget

    Dear AOC Colleagues:

    I am writing to inform you about what took place at the Assembly
    hearing this week regarding Administrative Office of the Courts’
    technology and facilities programs and to provide a brief update on
    the status of the State Budget.

    Assembly Hearing
    Wednesday’s hearing of the Assembly Committee on Accountability and
    Administrative Review focused on two areas: the California Court Case
    Management System and the facilities maintenance program administered
    by the AOC on behalf of the trial and appellate courts.

    I understand that some people feel that the hearing may have been
    critical of the important work being done and, for some who are
    dedicating their talents and expertise to these critical undertakings,
    there may be feelings of anxiety. The hearing with members of the
    Legislature was respectful and professional in both tone and
    discussion. We are fortunate to have a Legislature and Governor
    interested in these matters. Wednesday’s hearing reflected the
    tremendous importance of the work that is taking place in the areas of
    technology and courthouse facilities. It served to increase the
    understanding of the issues and the needs of both the Legislature and
    the judicial branch, and, overall, it helped to clarify directions on
    issues.

    We are fortunate to have talented and dedicated staff throughout the
    AOC who contribute to these efforts. I am proud of the work our
    Office of Court Construction and Management (OCCM) in developing a
    process to maintain and support California’s courthouses, especially
    since, initially, we did not know when the building transfers would
    take place from the counties to the state and had little knowledge
    about the condition of buildings. OCCM deserves great credit for
    implementing a solution that allowed the courts to have services
    scaled to handle the needs of first a few and, ultimately hundreds of
    courthouses. Since that time, detailed information on courthouse
    maintenance needs has been collected. This information is now helping
    guide the development of long-term solutions to maximize the
    effectiveness and cost-efficiency of the facilities maintenance
    program. For our Court Case Management System initiative, talented
    leaders and staff in the Information Services Division and the
    Southern Regional Office team are working closely with judges and
    court staff around the state to deliver a case management system that
    is integrated with state, local, and private civil and criminal
    justice system partners throughout California and that will improve
    the effectiveness and efficiency of our criminal and civil justice
    system.

  4. Wendy Darling

    Part 2 of Two

    Complex initiatives such as these raise differing opinions,
    misunderstandings, and, at times, misinformation. Our goal is to
    address these issues on their merits. An array of important issues
    were addressed in the hearing in a way that I hope will contribute to
    the ability to have joint support and cooperation for the important
    professional work that lies ahead for our judicial branch. Overall,
    there is much common ground. In addition to the clarification
    achieved, areas of misunderstanding were reviewed, and there was a
    discussion of potential procedural improvements that we can consider
    adding to our existing plans for continuous evaluation and changing
    practices.

    Following the conclusion of the formal part of the hearing, there was
    testimony from members of the public where some incorrect information
    was shared. We are providing corrections and documentation regarding
    this information for inclusion in the official record of the hearing.

    Overall, I think that the hearing was an important step forward for
    the two branches in working together to help us accomplish our work in
    an effective and cost-efficient way. This goal is shared by the
    Judicial Council and the Legislature and is consistent with the core
    mission of the council and the AOC: to support continuous improvement
    in the administration of justice.

    Budget Status
    There is little new information to report on the status of the State
    Budget. According to recent press accounts, the difference between
    the Governor’s budget and the plan proposed by the Democrats has
    decreased, with the parties now only $4.5 billion apart. The
    Democratic leadership in the state Senate and Assembly presented a
    joint plan that would avoid even deeper cuts to social service
    programs and education. It involves a tax swap: increasing the state
    income tax and the vehicle license fee, but decreasing sales tax.
    According to the Democratic leadership, all Californians will benefit
    from this swap, as the increased taxes-the income tax and the vehicle
    license fee-are deductible on federal taxes. The nonpartisan
    Legislative Analyst’s Office’s analysis differs slightly, finding that
    Californians with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would actually
    see a tax increase. The Governor and Republican leadership in the
    Legislature have both declared the Democrats’ plan as “dead on
    arrival,” arguing that deeper spending cuts are necessary.

    With regard to the judicial branch budget, there have been no changes
    to the action that was taken by the budget conference committee last
    month. As I said before, nothing is final until the Legislature
    passes the budget and the Governor signs it.

    On Thursday, August 12, President pro Tempore of the Senate Darrell
    Steinberg announced his hope that the budget will be done by the
    August 31 close of the legislative session.

    Conclusion
    I appreciate the dedication and hard work of everyone in our agency in
    continuing to move forward on our many important programs and
    initiatives to improve California’s justice system for the benefit of
    the public we serve.

    Bill

    William C. Vickrey
    Administrative Director of the Courts
    Judicial Council of California – Administrative Office of the Courts

  5. As yet another example of the continuing endemic problems at the AOC HR a well-respected and admired Senior HR Analyst, Jeff Ng, gave his two-week notice to his manager. His manager was so angry (yes, even if they do like you they don’t want you to leave because it makes them look bad) that she asked him to leave “immediately.”
    So for those of you thinking of jumping ship–DO NOT give notice. They will ask you to leave “sooner” rather than “later.”
    Hmmm . . . since they asked him to leave sooner and he did nothing wrong–is this potentially a termination?
    And, by the way, they also asked him to surrender his (BART) pass so that he had to borrow money to take BART home. Folks, this is your employer of choice! Way to go AOC!

    • Wendy Darling

      Jeff was actually ordered to leave, not asked. He was also ordered to leave while the hearing in Sacramento before the Committee on Accountability and Adminisrative Review was going on, and the Bill & Ron show was telling the committee how much they represent and practice transparency. Jeff sent an e-mail to HR saying good-bye and had been ordered to leave immediately right after the public comment of the hearing started, while two other former AOC employees were speaking before the committee.

      And the HR body count continues to pile up outside the door of Fuentes and Couch.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      Any employee that is leaving the AOC presents as a wobbly leg with regards to the three legs necessary for public corruption to exist.

      A person leaving the AOC’s employment represents a person who can no longer be controlled by the AOC.

      That person has privileged access to one of the other three legs – information that can no longer be controlled by the AOC, thereby leaving the AOC with only one leg to stand on and that one leg is that they still control the money.

      The AOC long known for its secretive ways is making a diligent effort to control both the people within the organization and the information that gets out about the organization in part through their monthly divisional staff meetings.

      “You can’t resign in two weeks, you’re fired” sounds like wrongful termination to me if they didn’t place him on paid administrative leave after his notice. But it sure goes a really long way to ensure that Mr. Ng does not leave the AOC with any information that might be damaging to the organization, nor does he remain around for someone to try to influence him to collect and disseminate that information to others. After all, any person planning on leaving AOC employment for any reason has nothing to lose and that alone is an onerous risk to the managers and directors orchestrating the grandest of frauds upon the people of the State of California.

      Not everyone is dirty. But many of those who aren’t dirty turn a blind eye to those who are because there is no recourse and no value that can be added to bringing the allegation and losing both your job and your retirement over.

  6. JC or someone, could you please post the Recorder article? thanks
    Wendy, thanks for the memo. Gawd, such typical Billspeak. How can so many be “missinformed”? it is like the lone band member saying the entire rest of the band is out of step…not him. VERY 1984ish. As I have said before, it is like judicial officers who publically support the AOC have the “stepford judges syndrome” (“their eyes are like dahls eyes” – Clint in the movie Jaws). The rest are too afraid and go with the program.
    WBF, I agree I am glad this stuff is on the legislature’s radar and I don’t think it ever would have been without the dedicated folks of the alliance that risked everything to make that so. however, I hope they (the legislature) have the balls (pardon me) to demand accountablity from the AOC and the CJ. We shall see.

    • Wendy Darling

      The more common AOC description is bullspeak.

    • Here is my all-time favorite quote from the head of the AOC, from my long list of great AOC punchlines. This is from the accountability hearing, as reported in the Courthouse News Service a couple of days ago:

      … The AOC receives monthly invoices from Jacobs and Aleut tallying the charges, but Vickrey said the bills rarely break down in such detail that the AOC can itemize the costs. “I feel like I’m caught at times in a world where you can’t succeed,” Vickrey told the committee.

      BTW, does anyone but me hate this new AOCWatcher format? Very hard to follow threads. I wish AOCWatcher would reappear, but he/she seems to have vamoosed. Let’s hope it’s temporary.

      • Yes, yes, as I also mentioned earlier (and even emailed AOC Watcher direct with a plea to change it back), I don’t like the new format but believe, perhaps, it was changed in order to add the “search” function? I, too, wish he/she/they would reappear even if only to restore the old format.

      • Wendy Darling

        Judge Horan,
        Please, can we have some more quotes? They’re just too good!

      • Judge Horan,

        Re: “I feel like I’m caught at times in a world where you can’t succeed,” Vickrey told the committee.

        You know, this statement from the hearing really stood out for me, too…for it’s definitely not what I expect (or desire) to hear uttered from the lips of someone holding a position of leadership. AOC statements like this are both alarming and, oddly, at least for me personally, amusing….

        Can we have an AOC quote of the day posting? God knows there are *SO MANY* to choose from….and the list continues to grow on that front.

      • Wendy Darling

        Fraud, corruption, policy violations, violations of state law, retaliation, ethical violations, deceit, deception … perhaps it might occur to Bill Vickrey at some point if what he’s doing isn’t “successful,” then maybe he shouldn’t be doing it in the first place, but that’s probably too much to hope for.

        And if Vickrey is no longer succeeding, then maybe he should resign, or should the taxpayers just keep paying him to fail?

  7. Excuse me please? surrender your BART pass? I know AOC employees get a break on their BART passes for using public transportation, but does not the AOC get reimbursed from the state/grant for that? So what if Mr. Ng had not? Would the AOC have called the cops or something? Totally bizarre. I would have told them to shag off.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      The AOC now requires individuals to apply for a translink through the AOC. The translink is in the individual users’ name, not in the name of the AOC. The AOC makes a deposit onto the translink and if the user of the translink requires more money on the translink to achieve a monthly commute pre-paid the AOC collects a check for the difference.

      I think it’s appropriate to “out” the manager that did this as it sounds like that manager robbed the employee with an unlawful demand.

  8. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    I’m a little late to the game (vacation will do that) but when I study what was given to the Assembly Committee on Accountability & Administrative Review some questions inevitably come to mind.

    Mr. Willoughby’s declaration that it costs him $2.45 per square foot per year and the minor discrepancy in the documents submitted that makes note of these costs as $2.43 per year and the overall combined expenditure of 140 million being spent in the last fiscal year for facilities maintenance, facilities modifications and operations just doesn’t add up.

    In another table provided in the documentation, it indicates that they paid Jacobs and AGS a combined total of $40,764,384.00 for fiscal year 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. Not conicidentally, this would be the same approximate amount that is represented by the suits and countersuits between the AOC, Jacobs and AGS.

    So one is left wondering: If the contracts were launched in 2006 and there were millions of dollars paid to these contractors under that contract between FY 2005-2006, FY 2006-2007, FY 2007-2008 and the AOC appears to only be filing suit for FY 2008-2009 and FY 2009-2010 how much money is being left on the table and not being claimed by the AOC?

    Is this evidence that the AOC has sued the unlicensed contractors for a fraction of what they were paid and what is due to be returned to the taxpayers?

    Why would the AOC do that?

    • JusticeCalifornia

      fraud, Obi?
      Hey, after the AOC conspired with a Judicial Council member to destroy documents relevant to a pending legislative audit (thereby thwarting our Constitutional system of checks and balances) — and said it was to “make space” (although EVERYONE involved knew that for years there had been multiple litigant/advocate requests for administrative, judicial, criminal, legislative investigation and/or intervention)– I wouldn’t put anything past top leadership.
      What people are having trouble with, is wrapping their minds around the magnitude of the corruption.

    • Michael Paul

      I believe that some persons at the AOC likely have a kickback scheme going on that they’re trying to protect. The amount they are filing suit for coincides with the approximate amount that could be realized by a contract extension to the vendors.

      “We’re filing suit for 32 mil and holding up payments on another 8 mil because some smart ass technical analyst is howling about false claims, but don’t worry, we will sue you for just a fraction of the amount owed and extend the contract to you for another year. You can gouge us for another year to make up your losses and everyone will be able to keep their ill-gotten gains. No one will be the wiser.”

      Not on my watch you don’t.

  9. WiseEmployee

    Here’s a slice of good news – the governor signed the whistleblower bill into law!

    And yes, Judge Horan, this new format is not good. Very user unfriendly. I too wish the AOC Watcher would come back and reorganize the blog.

  10. Judge Horan, yes I hate this format too. I was not going to say anything, I thought it was just my computer. AOC Watcher where are you?
    OK Wise Employee does the new WB law include AOC/judicial branch employees?

    • ComputerGeek

      Does it include people who are not AOC employees?

    • Wendy Darling

      There aren’t any whistleblowers left at the AOC. They’ve all quit in disgust, been humilated into resigning, or been fired.

      • Obi-Wan Kenobi

        Don’t kid yourself. There are no more whistleblowers willing to go to John Judnick or their managers at the AOC. The Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review and the media have been hearing from plenty of AOC employees.

      • Wendy Darling

        By the way, welcome back Obi-Wan.

        A question, should you happen to know the answer: Is the Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review going to do anything about investigating what the employees are blowing the whistle on? Is the current Attorney General Jerry Brown going to anything about investigating the AOC? Is anyone going to investigate the AOC?

        Or is everybody just hoping the media doesn’t figure it out, and there won’t have to be an investigation?

        And as an FYI, in reading AB 1749 (thank you, Mermaid, for posting the link) there is a requirement that an employee claiming reprisal for whistleblowing has to file an appeal with the State Personnel Board. If you go the State Personnel Board website and look under the procedures for administrative hearings, State employees are allowed to be represented in a State Personnel Board hearing by a representative of their own choosing.

      • Wendy Darling: Oh no, hon….don’t be mistaken based on what is merely seen on the surface. I totally agree with Obi (welcome back from vacation, btw…and good luck catching up with this new blog format! UGH!).

        Based on what I am hearing (which the AOC is *NOT* hearing for obvious reasons)….there are, indeed, AOC employees [and other important key people in particular positions I won’t specifically mention] who are talking! Now that whistleblower protection is in place [Since I see no effective date contained in the bill, I’m assuming it went into effect upon the Governor’s signing of same?], I suspect even more people will be stepping forward.

        The passing of this bill is a MAJOR step in the right direction! We can now proceed to finally [and safely] get to the ROOT of the problems without the AOC totally controlling what becomes known…and what is covered up internally!

        In fact, the way I read it, the protection provisions contained in that bill are rather broad, and rightfully so considering the state of affairs. I would highly suggest that AOC managers, directors and the like look it over VERY CLOSELY…for it seems that more than a few of those folks could likely find themselves personally liable in certain situations, no? (You know who you are, you know what you have done…and after reading the new law, you are most likely shaking in your boots…or should be!)

        This is especially true since it seems to cover FORMER employees. For example, I wonder how this might apply to Mr. Paul’s situation? Perhaps he can confirm this, but didn’t he say he sent notices via email directly to Bill Vickery and the Chief on the waste and fraud that was going on inside the AOC, when he couldn’t get anyone else to listen to him in the “chain of command”? One has to wonder how many people have new liability exposure in this “chain of command” that were advised of the fraud, did nothing or worse, took actions to shut Mr. Paul up!

        Don’t forget Wendy Darling, for every person who speaks up publicly, they represent only a small fraction of the people who are speaking up behind the scenes.

        Anyhow….thanks to the bill authors and the legislature for providing what appears to be quite broad, and much needed, protection coverage [and to each and every other individual and group out there who played their part in making this a reality!]

        A special thanks to the Alliance of California Judges! They are in a most delicate and sensitive situation in this whole ordeal, and their efforts to do the right thing are recognized and appreciated. They have my utmost respect…..something that the judiciary as a whole once had from me, that I hope might be the case again in the future!

      • Wendy Darling,

        It’s late & perhaps my eyes are failing me (hey, I’m an insomniac) but I don’t see a REQUIREMENT as you are setting it out. Rather, I’m seeing that an employee is authorized and MAY also file a copy of their complaint with the State Personnel Board, as long as it is done within 12 months of the date of the last offensive act. Am I missing something here? Perhaps I should revisit it after getting a bit more sleep?

  11. Here is a part of AB 1749 that I truly enjoyed reading:

    ““Employee” includes a former employee who met the criteria of this subdivision during his or her employment.”

    So, both present and past employers are covered, no? That should cause the AOC to be squirming in their seats, I would think? This should prove to be interesting….

    Here’s a link to the Bill as enrolled on 8/6/10:

    http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_1701-1750/ab_1749_bill_20100806_enrolled.pdf

  12. Here is a link to the 8/18/10 press release advising that AB 1749 has been signed (7th down on the list):

    http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/15826/

  13. Michael Paul

    AB1749 certainly bolsters my case. It was alleged that I was terminated for insubordination in regards to specific reporting and investigative requirements made by the AOC. Namely that I reported something that was of concern regarding fraud, waste and abuse to someone other than who they pre-designated to receive and investigate that information, the same bullshit rules they sought to introduce into the legislation.

    These specific reporting and investigative requirements that the AOC sought according to the bills authors’ discussion found on leginfo happened to end up verbatim in a memo that Mark Moore and Michael Derr gave me on December 21st, one stamped “confidential” all over the outer envelope.

    Thankfully for me and much to the chagrin of Mr. Derr and Mr. Moore, the legislature considered the AOC’s proposed changes and struck them down with respect to the California Whistleblower Protection Act protection for AOC employees as they would have also run afoul of provisions of the California False Claims Act.

    One law for the AOC and one law for the rest of California is what the AOC sought and what the AOC did not get.

    I wish to thank the members of the state assembly, the state senate and Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger for all doing the right thing by AOC employees and the People of the State of California.

    Next on the legislative agenda: Binding the AOC to public contract code.

    • Michael Paul

      I also heard that some judges around the state lobbied heavily to kill this legislation while other judges around the state lobbied heavily to pass this legislation. To the latter group, you have my heartfelt appreciation.

      I also cannot thank Jack, Paula and other former AOC employees enough for the tremendous sacrifices they made that made this all possible.

  14. ComputerGeek

    What is this I’m hearing about concessions to Sacramento concerning CCMS. I haven’t seen anything on it. Does anyone know the details?

  15. ComputerGeek,

    Not ignoring your post, but I know nothing regarding that issue, sorry.

  16. PattyJaneSmith

    Computer Geek –

    There was an article in the Recorder a few days ago about a new CCMS MOU between Sacramento and the AOC. I don’t know much other than what was reported in that article.

  17. PattyJaneSmith

    Here is the text of the Recorder Article

    Sacramento Wins Concessions on Computer System
    Greg Mitchell
    The Recorder
    August 16, 2010
    SAN FRANCISCO — It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for the architects of the state’s costly and trouble-plagued Court Case Management System.
    Sacramento judges reached a deal (.pdf) late Friday with the Administrative Office of the Courts that gives the AOC 60 days to get Sacramento’s system working better on remote servers. If it can’t, Sacramento can operate its own servers, as some other large counties are doing.
    In a memo (.pdf) to court personnel, Sacramento Presiding Judge Steven White said the agreement reached Friday restores his court’s control over its own data, will save it almost $700,000 a year, and will allow it to create new applications as needed. White was on the bench Monday and not immediately available to comment.
    A few months ago, when Sacramento officials said they planned to disconnect from a central server they blame for some problems, the AOC ordered them not to.
    Friday’s agreement comes after months of bickering, including finger-pointing over a data breach, and just two days after lawmakers grilled AOC officials and listened as judges from Sacramento and elsewhere griped about the new system. “In Sacramento, it hasn’t worked,” Sacramento Presiding Judge Steve White testified.
    The CCMS is meant to replace an existing patchwork of computer systems in place around the state, and its backers say it will allow court information to be better accessed by other courts, law enforcement and the public. But critics, including some trial judges and court workers, say the project has been poorly managed, pointing to ever-increasing cost estimates and delivery delays. An audit is underway ; earlier this year, a separate review by the state’s chief information officer concluded the project was worthwhile, but needed to be better managed.
    AOC spokesman Philip Carrizosa didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

    • Thanks, Patty.

      Putting the database on a local server will not fix coding errors in the CCMS software but it will avoid certain data transmission errors, particularly in transmission of PCL code, caused by present transmissions over the Internet. The amount of money they will spend on hardware to host the ancient CCMS code locally will likely exceed the legitimate cost of an entirely new system. That is due to the nature of the ancient code they will host locally. They will effectively have a brand new 1980’s system.

      • Oh, and it’s not ‘ancient code,’ it was written in 2003-2005 and updated a lot since then. All the screens are run through internet explorer.

      • I’m reading in here between the lines that your remarks are dripping with sarcasm, as they should be.
        Now I note from the Courthouse News article that the $290,000 server to locally host the CCMS software has suddenly become a $1.4 Million server. Am I the only person who thinks all this is just plain crazy?

      • Uh, sacrasm? How in the world did you arrive at that assumption???

      • Have you seen the list of problems described by the Sacramento County Superior Court in their April 6th briefing? I certainly have. There are conflicts right and left with current widely used applications. The entire approach taken in CCMS is way out of date. You could write some COBOL code right now and that wouldn’t make it modern.

  18. JusticeCalifornia

    Excellent news about AB 1749!
    By the way, I agree with everyone else, it would really be nice to have the old AOC Watcher format back. . . .

  19. Wendy Darling

    Published today, August 19, 2010, in CalLaw, the on-line publication of The Recorder:

    Judicial Branch Workers Get Whistle-Blower Protections
    Greg Mitchell
    The Recorder
    August 18, 2010

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation Wednesday that extends whistle-blower protections to 22,000 judicial branch employees.
    Whistle-blower protection “will encourage people to sound the alarm if something is going wrong,” Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, one of the authors of AB 1749, said in a press release Wednesday.
    Most state employees are already covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act.

    The original version of Lowenthal’s bill only addressed employees of the Administrative Office of the Courts, which had been the target of at least two suits brought by former employees who say they were retaliated against for questioning agency spending decisions.

    AOC leaders initially insisted that existing agency policies and other state statutes offered employees adequate legal protections. But they did not oppose Lowenthal’s bill and, in fact, offered their endorsement after the lawmaker expanded the bill’s reach branch-wide.

    The new law will allow employees to sue for damages if they are punished for reporting waste or fraud in the branch. But judges and justices can’t be held personally liable.

  20. Mon dieu! This new whistle blower law is awesome!!! Thank you thank you to all that made it possible. So the terminator did not totally sell out to King George…..yet. We shall see on any future SC appointments in the near future and the outcome of the furlough cases.

  21. JusticeCalifornia

    courtflea do you know something I don’t? I checked the SOS website and saw that the Chin and Moreno info appears to be on the ballot.

  22. It appears this blog is dying. In case no one’s noticed, there’s only one unlocked thread to post anything in (this one).

  23. 007, are you actually trying to defend this monstrosity known as CCMS?

  24. Let me back up a second, 007, and take this a little more gently. You mentioned software written in 2003. Such software would almost surely be obsolete by now. The IT world moves very fast, particularly in the area of software. Even though software is obsolete, it still might be the best thing for certain people to use, primarily those whose hardware and basic applications software are years out of date. I still sell software to customers that was written in that timeframe. Why? Because their computers are from 2002 or 2003 or 2004. They can’t use current software. Their operating systems and/or basic applications can’t handle what I just wrote earlier this year. And they can still get the job done that they need to get done, albeit not with all the bells and whistles that can be produced now.

    The time when software is written is only one of the factors in determining whether it is modern. A person can sit down right now and write ancient code. Fresno is using stuff written in 2002 or 2003 or perhaps earlier. Some may have been written as late as 2004. Modifying it now doesn’t make it modern. Integrating it into current software doesn’t make it modern.

    Fooling around trying to fix the CCMS code is a pointless undertaking. The code base is out of date and the bugs are numerous. Spending money on such an effort is just throwing good money after bad.

  25. No sorry JC, I had not heard yet so I was still wondering if Chin et al were still going to be on the ballot.

    007, I hope this site is not dying that would be awful. There is still a lot to be done especially now that the new whistle blower laws have passed.

  26. Wendy Darling

    Speaking of there still being a lot to be done, for anyone who might be interested:

    August 25, 2010 11:00 am – Judicial Confirmation Hearing on State Supreme Court Chief Justice Nominee Justice Cantil-Sakauye.

    This hearing is listed as an upcoming event on the CalChannel schedule.

  27. Another date to watch is next Friday, August 27, the judicial council meeting. Go to the JC website and check out the agenda items. Agenda item 5, I believe, involves the AOC’s request that the council authorize another 20 million or so pocket change as a snack for CCMS, the beast with an endless appetite for dollars. The agenda item is worded a bit oddly–it may be that they are actually asking for 100 million or more, given the wording. Check it out, everyone, and let me know what you think. Perhaps they are trying to rush this one through before the audit. What lunacy! They budget has not been signed, the audit isn’t done, and they want more.

    • It looks to me like the $19.9 million is being directed to CCMS after being taken from other funds. It looks as if they think they are going to deploy CCMS to three counties. I see another $19.7 million projected forward to the next fiscal year. Of course, the $64,000 question is whether CCMS will actually work so that it can be deployed and on that I have my doubts. There will be a presentation on CCMS at the State Bar Meeting in September. I guess the PTB’s can tell us all about how they’re succeeding even though they are obviously failing. $19.9 million is more than the entire project of creating electronic court case records and deploying the system statewide should cost from start to finish.

    • JusticeCalifornia

      Judge Horan, thank you for the heads up.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      I think something like an association of state trial courts is warranted. This association could then submit their budget requests to the state legislature directly and permit the AOC to apply directly for its own funding, including funding they appear to be usurping from trial court trust funds to pay for this morass.

      Look at the bright side. Ron only said it will be another 800 million or so. So if you want to consider an alternative solution to spending another 800 million you don’t have, you might have this association of state trial courts go to existing system vendors and ask them for a fixed price to deliver it to every desktop in California as SAAS or software as a service.

      As other lawsuits against Deloitte have indicated, you are not getting their best and brightest. You’re paying for on the job training. You are getting H1B’s that wouldn’t dare cry foul and really don’t have the skills to develop a program of this complexity, save a few key players.

      The next 60 days in Sacramento will prove that out.

      Before recent events, Charlie Brown was represented by Chief Justice George and Deloitte played the part of Lucy with the ccms football.

      Now Charlie Brown is represented by Mr. Bill and Ron and if they can’t get ccms working in Sacramento in the next 60 days, the entire project should be scrapped, put back out to bid and Mr. Bill and Ron should resign.

      Under these conditions, I want to believe that Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye will immediately revisit governance and choose not to inherit the role of Charlie Brown waiting for Lucy Deloitte to tee up the ccms football.

      • Well, she will have her chance next Friday. She is still a voting council member and will have a chance to vote on whether to grant the AOC’s request for 19 million more for CCMS.

      • Obi-Wan Kenobi

        It would be nice if our state legislators would attend to represent the interests of the people of the State of California and ask the hard questions about how this is going to be paid for before continuing on the path of mutually assured destruction.

      • Obi-Wan, you may have a good idea about the proper funding mechanism. But as to Deloitte, don’t assume they have anyone who can write good software. There are numerous failed Deloitte projects around the country. In some cases, they sold people on the idea they would use some existing application and somehow or other customize it. In other cases it appears they tried to write stuff pretty much from scratch. I explored this while gathering material for my newspaper columns. The stories I got back told me they had code writers who produced numerous “dependent coding” problems. They produced software with thousands and thousands of coding errors. And more basically than that, they regularly displayed profound ignorance of modern system architecture and architecture possibilities. I.e., even if you found and fixed all the bugs, so what. CCMS suffers from basic architectural problems which will prevent it from ever functioning in the manner intended.

        As to using existing case management systems, that is about the only thing the AOC analyzed correctly. It won’t work well. The problem is simply that different states have different court systems. They have many commonalities but also quite a number of differences. The answer isn’t to try to get an OTS application and use it or even to try to customize it in-house. The answer is to require any prospective vendor to do that work in advance before any money changes hands and then present the proposed product to actual end-users. It would be expected the users would have some suggestions for additional features, possibly screen display changes, etc. But no money changes hands until the software is demonstrated to be bug-free or virtually bug-free, the software is found by prospective end-users to be user-friendly, and all the critical functionality is shown to work smoothly. That’s the model I use in developing software and it has worked every time.

      • There was an idea several months ago that I would personally explore if I held the purse strings.

        Much like Richard advocates, money shouldn’t change hands before the system is developed. I agree that the solution should be implemented as a SAAS service independent of the CCTC. It should be browser based and be delivered as a working platform before one penny changes hands.

        Why not pause the Deliotte effort and offer a 10 million dollar prize to the chosen SAAS vendor within one year?

        Let me tell you a story that both OCCM and IS management will both be crying in their Monday morning wheaties about-

        Today, the Office of Court Construction & Management utilizes SAAS to deliver call data and call management to its people in the Sacramento call center. This competitive idea was a product of my own research in an attempt to find a viable solution to twenty year old technology that was previously presented as costly, insecure a solution and that the clerks and staff begrudgingly accomodated.

        My own management initially wanted to put this out for a study and hire applications analysts to support it and house it all at the CCTC. I explained it was SAAS and they could not deliver these services anywhere near the price of SAAS and objected. Ultimately, OCCM put the whole concept out to RFP and my idea won by a landslide in terms of delivered services and costs and Telax now powers the Sacramento Call Center. This solution can be expanded to all regional offices on the fly at minimal cost. This was not a seriously studied solution that went all the way up to the Judicial Council level for ordainment. In fact, it didn’t really even leave my TSG team. Yet this solution powers OCCM and it is SAAS and OCCM didn’t spend a dime on it before I delivered it to them, nor do they pay the CCTC over a half a million dollars a year to support it all.

        Instead, they pay a scandalous $1,000.00 per month.

        Maybe that is why I was fired. Because I could likely deliver CCMS the same way…

      • Michael,
        While SAAS is a good idea in theory, it would unfortunately be extremely dangerous as a solution to creating and managing electronic court records and as a solution in a system with cross-accessibility between agencies potentially involved. In a good system, there would be cross-access between courts, probation, public defenders, district attorneys, CDCR, various county agencies that regularly file in the courts, private lawyers, police, sheriffs, CHP, some other state agencies, etc. Now imagine “lights out” on the data exchanges. Can’t happen? Sure it can. Have you ever lost Internet access? Ever had a computer crash? Had a power failure in the wrong place at the wrong time?

      • SAAS for the uninformed is “software as a service” and is almost always delivered at no overhead charge as an inexpensive turnkey solution. While the AOC was working on their expensive old technology client/server solution, this technology took hold and is spreading like wildfire.

      • Richard,

        Check your argument against one question. Don’t a worse condition already exist with current ccms architecture coming from the cctc?

        I’d rather pay for SAAS to bounce a customer around a few geographically diverse datacenters than to rely on a single CCTC. Being an engineer (and I’m sure other computer engineers have the same question) why does it cost Sacramento 600 grand to use this application from the CCTC? That is an obscene cost. Check any commercial colo with managed services and that kind of price tag would buy you a row of racks.

      • Michael,
        It is true that the overhead cost of a SAAS system is minimal, but you can’t forget about the dependent structure. Ignoring the extreme dependency situation is a prescription for disasters of never before seen magnitude. Also, SAAS is just a means of delivering something. From Point A to Point B. Don’t forget about what is being delivered. If you deliver trash well, it’s still trash. CCMS software is a prime example. It’s full of bugs. Doesn’t matter if you deliver it with a golden carriage attended by footmen in tuxedoes. It’s still full of bugs. So you need to start with good software that has no bugs. Then set up the architecture that can tolerate at least some degree of failure.

      • Michael,
        I agree about the CCTC setup being dumb. Why don’t you give me a call now. You have my number. In the past, some people have gotten annoyed with too many technical discussions on this blog.

    • If there is an extra $20 million laying around, why isn’t it going to the trial courts to avert further layoffs and furloughs?

  28. You know, if you read the Report to the Judicial Council around the bottom of page 6, you will see comments about many courts supposedly having failing case management systems and about one court (I wonder where?) that has a traffic application supported by one person who is going to retire soon. And yet, the AOC is absolutely unwilling to accept help. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who drowns while refusing a life preserver. If anyone knows who these courts are, and suggests that they call me, and they do so, I’ll write prototype software for them in a jiffy. It will require modern computers outfitted with current versions of basic productivity software.

    Now I’m going to go back to writing some ultra-modern database software for people who are actually ecstatic to get such software. Have a nice evening everyone.

  29. These are just “technical adjustments”. If they were were important, I am sure the JC members would require much more detail and the increased expenditures of $40 million on CCMS would be fully debated in a public meeting.

    The JC is the policy making body for the judicial branch and is based on fundamental principles of good government such as transparency and accountability. At a time when trial courts are laying off staff, reducing work schedules and limiting services, I doubt the JC members would authorize the increased expenditure of funds on CCMS if that money could otherwise be used for court operations. That would be antithetical to the prinicple of providing access to justice which is the primary objective of the judicial branch.

    The voting members of the JC are all elected constitutional officers who I am sure will want to know all of the details and facts of a transaction before casting a vote which would require spending an additional $20 million this year and $20 million next year on CCMS. It would be irresoponsible of them to authorize this type of expenditure simply because AOC staff recommends they do so. They will probably go back and talk to their courts and other judges to determine if the branch afford this type of expenditure now.

    I am sure you all remember when the decision to spend $1.3 billion on a case managment system was on the JC agenda. Remember how the JC spent hours in open session debating the detailed cost benefit analysis prepared by qualified IT consutling firm it retained. Who could forget how the JC members painstakingly examined the branch’s financial resources in order to develop a comprehensive funding strategy to pay for the $1.3 billion system. Or the survey of the trial courts showing that the AOC had obtained input and buy-in of the end-users of the system before proceeding on such a huge project.

    Judge Horan, if this were anything other than a “techinical adjustment” I could see why you might be worried. But based on the the JC has carefully and objectively evaluated the project to date, you can rest assured that it will be business as usual.

    I certainly hope you are not becoming cynical.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      I’m sure the JC has planned it all out together with the new court construction and handsome rewards for the crime of being an unlicensed contractor. Build 41 of the buildings on planet earth that some counties and courts can’t afford to staff, lay off hundreds of clerks and consolidate operations and management into a new regional model. Who needs court execs, local IT people and clerks when you have experienced defense contractors that charge twice as much and “the internets” to replace all that redundant manpower? Me thinks trial courts doth protest too much. 😉

  30. JusticeCalifornia

    And apparently, the Marin court is intending to bring Verna Adams back on as the Marin Family law pj in 2011. She was the 2007-2008 Marin family law pj, and she presided over some of the most horrific custody cases, that are part of the audit, and that in fact INSPIRED litigants to seek the audit. In addition, she was the 2009 Marin County PJ when the Marin Family Court Services documents were destroyed last year.

    Hey Chris Patton, you are a lawyer– remember you were warned in writing about Verna Adams and Marin Family Court Services’ lawbreaking ways, way before the Marin Family Court Services’ documents were destroyed under Verna’s watch? Remember the documents about Marin mediators testifying that they didn’t know or follow state laws and procedures?

    Makes it a little tough for the AOC legal department to claim there was anything innocent or legal about the AOC’s participation in the destruction of Marin Family Court Services’ documents relevant to an ongoing legislative audit involving claims of misconduct and incompetence by Marin Family Court Services, doesn’t it?

    So many, many people in all three branches were warned in writing about Marin Family Court Services and Verna Adams and Kim Turner, way before the AOC and Kim Turner, under Verna’s watch, conspired to destroy Marin Family Court Services’ documents relevant to an ongoing legislative audit involving Marin Family Court Services. . . . .
    This is kind of like the game of Jenga. The outcome is inevitable.

  31. Michael Paul and Computer Geek

    What is with all the talk about SAAS, using current technologies and providing cost effective technical services to the courts? Blah, blah, blah.

    You obviously lack a clear understanding of the CCMS project. As I read through your email exchange, I noted you never mentioned “venue transparency”. Not once. If venues are not transparent, . . ., well, I’ll let you fill in the blank. I am sure it won’t be pretty.

    Sure, your suggestions might lead to case managment system that could be deployed at a fraction of the costs of CCMS or be deployed years earlier than CCMS. But what about venue transparency.

    Come on guys, let’s leave this one to the professionals at the AOC, who have years of experience developing Enterprise level software systems and architecture. I know Sheila Calabro has at least ten years of experience, because that is how long she has been working on CCMS and look how successful it has been. Prior to this Sheila must have overseen many large software development projects thourgh completion. Do you really think the JC would allow her to manage CCMS if her only background in this area was the devleopment of an in-house case managment system for the court in Ventura, while she was also running the Court? That would be irresponsible.

    Could I ask you guys to keep your opinions to yourself because someone from outside the branch might read some of your comments and conclude that CCMS is a poorly managed project, which uses outdated technology, costs way too much and may never work?

    We all know that the JC values transparency and accountability because that what is says on its website. So I don’t think we need the two of you constantly making suggestions that might save the branch millions of dollars.

    Thanks.

    • Okay, I’m game WBF. on the issue of venue transparency as it might be important to an independent judge ruling on my independent matter. Say, like suing the AOC and my managers individually for wrongful termination.

      It would be important for the judge to denote that I have a concurrent case running in my hometown for beating my wife.

      Wait….. CLETS already provides that.

      Oh, oh. I have a warrant out for my arrest in Calexico!

      Wait….that’s already out there too.

      I know, I have a small claims dispute in my hometown and venue transparence would allow the judge to analyze the merits of THAT case before considering THIS case… that must be one of the reasons….

      I have a speeding ticket pending in Mendocino and Amador and window tinting case pending in San Mateo. Venue transparency would allow you to pre-judge my experience with the system so you could throw the book at me for my use of the carpool lane. Yes! Now, we’re getting down to the reasons for venue transparency.

      (none of this is true, its simply an argument for why transparency is so important)

      • Hey guys. I’m up for a little comic break too. Been writing software this morning. The design part is fun. The long periods of repetitive code writing? Not so much.

        Actually, it’s possible in a well-designed system to have information available in County A from a case in County B. A clerk could pull it up for a judge while the case is in front of the court. When the clerk finds a reference to another domestic relations hassle in another county, he/she can alert the family law judge who’s ten feet away and they can then take a moment to look over the information available.

      • It would be important for the judge to denote that I have a concurrent case running in my hometown for beating my wife.

        Wait….. CLETS already provides that.
        NOT ONLY CLETS, BUT WITHIN THE YEAR MOST COURTS WILL BE USING CCPOR WHICH WILL PROVIDE THIS INFORMATION TO CLERKS AND JUDICIAL OFFICERS.

        Oh, oh. I have a warrant out for my arrest in Calexico!
        IF THERE WAS AN ARREST WARRANT FOR YOU IN CALEXICO THE ARRESTING/BOOKING AGENCY WOULD KNOW ABOUT IT BEFORE YOU GET TO COURT. IT IS DOUBTFUL A LEA WOULD EVEN HOOK YOU UP UNLESS YOU WERE ALREADY IN CUSTODY, CHARGED WITH A SERIOUS FELONY AND IMPERIAL COUNTY WAS WILLING TO TRANSPORT YOU. IF THE CHARGES WERE DRUG RELATED FELONIES OR MISDEMEANORS, YOU WOULD MORE THAN LIKELY BE CITE RELEASED TO APPEAR NEXT WEEK IN EL CENTRO.

        I know, I have a small claims dispute in my hometown and venue transparence would allow the judge to analyze the merits of THAT case before considering THIS case… that must be one of the reasons….
        NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT IT WOULD BE IMPROPER FOR A JUDGE TO DO THIS AND POSSIBLY EXPOSE HIM OR HER TO DISCIPLINE BY THE CJP, SMALL CLAIMS JUDGES DON’T SPEND THEIR TIME REVIEWING SMALL CLAIMS CASES IF THEY DON’T NEED TO.

        I have a speeding ticket pending in Mendocino and Amador and window tinting case pending in San Mateo. Venue transparency would allow you to pre-judge my experience with the system so you could throw the book at me for my use of the carpool lane. Yes! Now, we’re getting down to the reasons for venue transparency

        IF THESE CASES DID NOT RESULT IN CONVICTIONS OR HAD NOT BEEN AJUDICATED WHEN YOUR CASE WAS HEARD, A JUDGE COULD NOT TAKE THEM INTO CONSIDERATION. IF THERE WERE PRIOR CONVICTIONS ON YOUR RECORD, MOST CURRENT SYSTEMS ALREADY INTERFACE WITH DMV AND OBTAIN THIS INFORMATION WHEN THE CASE IS FILED. PRIOR CONVICTION INFORMATION IS NEEDED TO ACCRUATELY CALCULATE THE FINES AND FEES ON THE CURRENT CASE.

        BUT IF YOU WANTED TO GO ONLINE TO PAY YOUR TRAFFIC TICKET IN LA OR SAN DIEGO OR SANTA CRUZ, VENUE TRANSPARENCY WOULD ALLOW YOU TO DO THAT. OF COURSE, YOU CAN PROBABLY DO THAT ALREADY IN 2/3 OF THE COUNTIES IN THE STATE ALREADY.

        WHILE VENUE TRASPARENCY IS REALLY NOT NEEDED BY THE COURTS, LAW ENFORCEMENT, THE BAR OR THE PUBLIC, IT WILL MAKE THE TRANSITION TO REGIONALIZED COURTS RUN BY THE AOC MUCH EASIER.

  32. Sorry, my bad. 😛

  33. Wendy Darling

    Does anybody really expect anything to be different at the JC meeting on the 27th? Everyone will first congratulate Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on her nomination as Ron George’s hand picked successor for Chief Justice, as well as getting “c0nfirmed” as the Chief Justice nominee on the 25th (another done deal), and when the “vote” comes to flush another $19 million down the CCMS toilet, everyone will just vote the way the current chief justice wants them to vote (another done deal); even if any “public comment” is allowed, it will just be ignored. Is anyone really expecting anything other than the usual Judicial Council/AOC dog-and-pony show?

  34. Are any of you bowlers?

  35. Wendy Darling

    Just an FYI, as published in The Sacramento Bee:

    Schwarzenegger budget plan would borrow from CalPERS

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has privately proposed borrowing $2 billion from the state’s giant pension fund to help bridge California’s $19 billion budget deficit. The plan would take the money as an advance against future savings from pension cuts, according to sources close to the negotiations who would not be identified because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

  36. JusticeCalifornia

    “WHILE VENUE TRANSPARENCY IS REALLY NOT NEEDED BY THE COURTS, LAW ENFORCEMENT, THE BAR OR THE PUBLIC, IT WILL MAKE THE TRANSITION TO REGIONALIZED COURTS RUN BY THE AOC MUCH EASIER.”

    Judicial big brother. . . .
    Run by people like RRB, Fuentes and Turner. Woo hoo.

    • Working for the AOC, I most definately got the sense that regional control of the courts and not local control is AOC’s ultimate goal.

      Rotate key JC/AOC people around to key positions in courts, gut the local functionality of operations wherever an AOC contractor could provide these service and make them more dependent on the AOC with a series of MOU’s and move on to the next court. I can go into great detail about the advance planning of “well, someday we might need this functionality because….” because regional control and total dependency on the AOC appears to be the objective.

      • Every judge and CEO in the state should read MP’s post above. Centrailized management of the trial courts is the goal. Take a look at the AOC’s attempt to amend GC 77001 a few years ago.

        I think anyone who is concerned about these issues – Regionalization, CCMS, Facilities Construction/Maintenance – needs to start contacting the JC members directly. Unless the JC members, inlcuding the new chief justice, hear the reasoned arguments of those from within and outside the branch, they will continue to exclusively rely on the recommendations of AOC staff.

        We can post on this blog 24/7 and the comments will be characterized by the AOC as the uninformed rants of malcontents and vengeful ex-exmployees. The voting JC members are all elected officials who, when acting in their administrative capacities, should welcome the views of the all stakeholders.

        Contact a JC Member with your concerns.

      • I would invite the AOC to prove that my eight years of employment didn’t save them four hundred plus years of my salary. I’m not vengeful, I am pissed because two companies that would otherwise be categorized as felonious lawbreakers are collecting fat check rewards today and I’m out in the cold, having done the right thing.

      • Michael

        Didn’t mean to imply you were vengeful or doing anythng other than be honest. However, I the powers that be, i.e., attempt to dimiss the comments on this blog as shrill and uninformed. JC members probably do read AOC Watcher. However, it is easy to ignore entries from anonymous posters and ex-employees will be characterized as having an axe to grind. It will much more difficult for JC members to ignore letters and emails from AOC and trial court employees, particularly now that the JC/AOC are required to disclose correspondence under the new public records provisions and employees have whistle-blower protection.

        No offense intended and I apologize if any was taken.

      • Michael Paul

        No offense was taken-

        I’m just hoping people with sound cognitive skills can connect the freaking dots and see that what was before unimaginable is in fact reality.

  37. spot on Wendy. If the new chief justice makes any changes it will be after King George steps down from the throne. Business as usual until then I am afraid. What we really need now is for J Huffman to retire and the chief’s other cronie Baxter.

  38. JusticeCalifornia

    Having watched, documented and reported about the Marin County Superior Court in action for over a decade now (at great personal cost, I might add), I remain optimistic.
    A year ago Verna Adams and Kim Turner were strutting around stupidly and publicly saying “go ahead, audit us, we are an example of best practices”, and now , we find out, they were scrambling like mad to buy time and destroy evidence about the bad things they have done, like the worst of common criminals.
    The GIGANTIC and unexpected red flag is that the AOC was intimately involved in what appears to be a pretty big and well-documented crime.
    I do believe we are all looking at an increasingly desperate $5 billion judicial empire with no oversight,that appears to have done a lot of stupid , bad, and well-documented things.
    I still have faith in democracy, and the American system of checks and balances. It is a grueling process for everyone, but we all have our issues, and we are all moving them forward. Documenting and reporting–that has been the name of the game. And it sounds like we all have, in our own ways.
    RG had to get out. He was the first, and biggest. Top leadership still retains hope against hope that this was enough. It wasn’t.
    The CA judicial branch corruption stories (there are so many!!) are all tinder boxes ready to catch fire. And, by documenting and reporting, we have readied the kindle.
    Just my Pollyanna opinion.

  39. Michael Paul

    Where is Ross Perot and his vivid descriptions of that giant sucking sound coming from …. San Francisco? The illustration of the Office of Court Construction & Management’s call center system is a telling way about how the AOC normally goes about its business. Information Services Management wants to immediately study the situation, typically by hiring someone like KC/FuturePlanning, the in-house single person consultant that typically leads studies such as this for IS.

    I remember being involved in a Video Infrastructure study. This was in response to CJER’s desire to move video over IP and do videoconferencing over IP.

    Being a part of the YouTube generation, an IT engineer and a former broadcast engineer for ABC News, studying the use of video in the courts seemed way less important to me than tweaking the architecture so the video could work. To me, it was a series of minor technical tweaks and obvious network equipment replacement. To my management, it was a reason for KC/FuturePlanning to come in and study how everyone else utilizes video in the courts.

    While the study is underway for well over a year, I don’t think the document, which cost CJER somewhere around a HALF MILLION DOLLARS in KC/FuturePlanning fees ever saw the light of day. None of the people on my technical team were waiting for the results of this survey to make the decisions of what we needed to do to beef up the architecture for video streaming. We took our queue from Nike and just did it.

    A similar, I believe the term used in vietnam was something that sounds like “clusterfrack” exists in CCMS and was nearly imposed upon me with the OCCM call center system. The management solution would be to spend another huge wad of money on studying call center equipment and then justify the expense and justify a few applications systems analysts and technical analysts to manage the whole solution from the CCTC which would have cost OCCM in terms of these new IT people coming out of the OCCM’s facilities management budget and whopping fees to manage the CCTC piece.

    A quick tabulation based on previous projects told me that the AOC IS’s version of the call center system would have cost over a million dollars to study and implement, additional personnel costs just over a quarter million dollars a year and another obscene amount of money to have it all hosted from the CCTC and would have taken two years plus. I knew from experience with working with management that if they started down this path, there would be no returning or reconsideration of any other viable solutions. This was the basis for my strong objections and making my case for SAAS to run the call center.

    I would conservatively estimate that I saved the AOC 20+ years of my salary over the next 5 years of this program by taking a stand and taking ownership of the project from a technical standpoint. SAAS only required the helpdesk analysts to support the existing computers and network people to ensure the path out to the internet worked. Everything else was up to the SAAS vendor Telax to deliver the services. And deliver they have. Everyone from Overholt down has raved about the system. This technology didn’t reliably exist a few years ago and today OCCM spends a whopping thousand dollars a month as opposed to the projected IS solution that would have cost over 50 grand a month and probably over a million dollars to study and implement. (does this sound something like CAFM Fred? I know it does…)

    While my management and I would get several emails raving about the system functionality and its low cost implementation, my immediate management utilized it as a way to imply that I was not developing solutions fast enough. The reply from immediate management was not congratulatory, rather, it was more like “you should have building management all figured out too, when can we expect your plan for building management systems architecture?”

    I’m not pointing any of this out to simply rip on my former employer. I’m pointing it out to show how entrenched management philosophy is in believing that high-priced consultants always have the best solutions, even if you have to lead them around by their expensive nose rings to the conclusion you want them to come to, which is what I observed is how AOC-IS works.

    Would I trust any study coming from the AOC regarding a cost/benefit analysis of CCMS? No, because I know that the AOC inserts nose rings into the consultant with the issuance of a consulting contract and leads them to pre-destined conclusions and results.

    Maybe I didn’t mention that I was one of those high-priced consultants for my first 3.5 years on the job……

  40. I’m a fan of Don Henley ..and the rest of the Eagles.
    There’s a song written by Don Henley called “The Garden of Allah” that’s presented as a moden day fable in which Satan visits “Gomorrah By The (AO)Sea” and discovers he has become superfulous. Humankind has perfected the practices of evil and no longer requires his assistance. The song references a media circus in the courts and the ever unscrupulous expert witness. It was written shortly after the O.J. Simpson trial. In it, the ever unscrupulous expert witness (or any AOC sponsored cost benefits analysis on CCMS for that matter) says the following:

    “Today I made and appearance downtown
    I am an expert witness, because I say I am
    And I said, ‘Gentleman….and I use that word loosely…I will testify for you
    I’m a gun for hire, I’m a saint, I’m a liar
    Because there are no facts, there is no truth, just data to be manipulated
    I can get you any result you like….what’s it worth to ya?
    Because there is no wrong, there is no right
    And I sleep very well at night
    No shame, no solution
    No remorse, no retribution
    Just people selling t-shirts
    just opportunity to participate in this pathetic little circus
    And winning, winning, winning’ ”

  41. JusticeCalifornia

    Michael Paul: “Would I trust any study coming from the AOC regarding a cost/benefit analysis of CCMS?”
    JusticeCalifornia: No, because the Judicial Council (through Kim Turner– and as-yet unknown others) and the AOC has knowingly, admittedly and purposefully participated in the wholesale destruction of relevant evidence during a legislative JLAC checks-and-balances audit about the safety of children. If the AOC is willing to sacrifice the safety of children, and thwart a legislative audit relevant to the safety of children, it is willing to sacrifice and do anything.
    Based on what has happened with the official Marin audit, I anticipate that the Judicial Council/AOC has destroyed and/or given permission to destroy records relevant to every hot issue presently presented: CCMS, court construction, whistleblower retaliation, trial court retaliation, and much more. Damning e-mails, correspondence, complaints, interoffice memos, phone slips, personnel records, etc. — are they gone?
    How much has CCMS really cost? Who the h*** knows? The AOC has thus far been totally unable [read: unwilling] to really answer that question , right? They are documenting virgins, right?
    Let’s see what has been destroyed re CCMS. If ANY documents re CCMS and court construction have been destroyed, the records are tainted, the data is unreliable.
    And let’s look at “document retention” [read: CYA document destruction] policies implemented in the last few years.
    It may take depositions to find out what the AOC/Judicial Council/third branch has done or approved, and what it has destroyed. Gotta love those depositions.

    • The AOC has evidence preservation letters from both my attorneys and AG attorneys and have widely circulated those evidence preservation letters to OCCM and IS employees alike. – in short anyone who had anything to do at all with Jacobs and AGS or the facilities management program or any of the documentation I requested from Judnick in October of last year. I trust that my coworkers, who are all upstanding citizens would not let this evidence be destroyed and would ensure that those evidence preservation instructions are carried out. As far as I am concerned if they’re asked to get rid of it, they should take a walk one block to the west of the AOC, climb the spiral staircase to the right of Max’s Cafe, go through the glass doors, turn immediately left and hand them to my attorney. She has been getting lots of stuff already. Mostly from court employees.

    • Wendy Darling

      That would certainly provide an explaination for all those shredders previously humming away day after day at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, especially on the 5th and 7th floors.

    • Michael Paul

      This particular document destruction in Marin County, while they were stalling a JLAC audit no less, I find very disturbing personally and I’m sure they found some low-level newbie attorney unfamiliar with the JLAC audit to make the call on records destruction so they would have plausible deniability of “We didn’t INTENTIONALLY destroy those records in the face of a JLAC audit”

  42. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    I would be concerned about records destruction in general. The AOC has retained an expert in snuffing out investigations and obstructing justice and getting away with it when they hired a certain HR expert. They likely hired him on “Tell us your secret, how did you ever manage to conceal twice as many engine and transmission purchases year after year than the LARTA had buses?”

    “Hire me” said the expert “and I’ll lead you to the promise land of no evidence” And it starts with the shredder, followed by what I anticipate will be the ‘accidental destruction’ of computer records.

    • JusticeCalifornia

      I am still waiting for someone to tell me which records, if any, were “accidentally” destroyed during that “freak power surge” in June 2008, hours after the request for the JLAC audit of 8 courts was announced in the paper. I have asked that question many times, and no one has ever answered.

      • Wendy Darling

        And no one probably ever will, at least not at 455 Golden Gate Avenue …

      • Michael Paul

        That question I know the answer to since the San Francisco datacenter was in my area of responsibility and I was a part of the team that maintained that datacenter. No data was lost.

  43. JusticeCalifornia

    It was confirmed yesterday that the Marin Family Court Services mediation files in one of Marin’s most high-profile Marin custody cases were destroyed while the state JLAC audit of the Marin court was pending.

    This is the case in which the Family Court Services mediator testified that she and her supervisor didn’t know or follow state-mandated mediation laws and procedures.

    This is the case involving a child who repeatedly had unexplained bruises, and told the court mediator that his dad hit him, sometimes for fun and sometimes he meant it. The child’s report was not included in the mediator’s recommendation, and only came to light during cross examination of the mediator, and a review of her handwritten notes in her subpoenaed mediation file. That mediation file and others like it are now gone, and unavailable for review by the state auditors.

    This is the case involving the mediator’s repeated improper ex parte contacts with minor’s counsel, who has charged $70,000 over the last 5.5 years, although he has met with his child client for a total of less than 6.5 hours in that 5.5 year period.

    This is the case involving the mother who lodged detailed written complaints about the illegal activities of Marin Family Court Services and Judge Verna Adams in her case. She reported misconduct to the court, Kim Turner, the Marin sheriff and DA, the Marin Board of Supervisors, the Attorney General, the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Judicial Council, the high courts, the AOC, the legislature, the governor and others. Testimony was given to the Elkins Task Force, the Marin Women’s Commission, the CA Commission on Women, and the JLAC committee. She asked for every kind of investigation imaginable, including criminal investigations. The Marin Sheriff’s office refused to take her complaint, telling her it was a “Judicial Council matter”.

    But the mother steadfastly continued documenting and reporting, loudly and to everyone. As a result, NO ONE CAN SAY THEY DIDN’T KNOW THAT ILLEGAL CONDUCT OF MARIN FAMILY COURT SERVICES WAS ALLEGED IN THIS CASE, AND REPEATED REQUESTS FOR OFFICIAL INVESTIGATIONS OF MARIN FAMILY COURT SERVICES WERE MADE IN THIS CASE.

    The legislature listened to the stories of this mother and others, and the JLAC committee voted unanimously to investigate the Marin Court. So the AOC and the Marin Court engaged in damage control, and conspired to and did intentionally and purposefully destroy evidence highly relevant to the JLAC investigation, while the investigation was ongoing.

    As a result, the state JLAC auditors will be unable to perform a full and complete inquiry about the misconduct of Marin Family Court Services and all involved in the sytem who interface with Marin Family Court Services in this and other horrific Marin custody cases. The documents, interview notes, communications, information, memos etc. involving the mediators are gone.

    Everyone involved should be fired and prosecuted to the fullest extent allowable by law. We are talking about the safety of children, and purposeful destruction of incriminating evidence by a Judicial Council member, the AOC, and members of the Marin Court, while a “checks and balances” legislative audit was pending.

    Conspiracy, spoliation of evidence, and obstruction of justice, involving top leadership of the biggest judiciary in the Western world? Sure looks that way. . . .

    I predict this will be bigger than Enron/Arthur Anderson, as this story develops. What we know is big and bad enough, but we can bet that it wasn’t just mediation files that were destroyed, and that this didn’t just happen in Marin. If top CA judicial leadership is willing to sacrifice the safety of children and take the public relations heat for doing so, in order to save their butts, they will do anything. And just imagine how bad the destroyed evidence was. . . .

    • Michael Paul

      I think I have seen either judges or courtworkers criticize the role that the federal government must play in straightening out this wayward ship we commonly refer to as the AOC.

      I have called for a federal investigation of the AOC and stridently continue to do so based on my own findings. The thing about federal investigations is that you never know if they’re actually underway. Some high profile investigations happen in the backgroud and take years. In other federal investigations there is a smoking gun that they follow. I would call the Marin court document destruction in the face of a legislative audit one of the smoking gun variety. I would also call transferring a void contract and continuing payments under that void contract another smoking gun. I would also call the magical disappearance of a company we all know as “Team Jacobs” yet another smoking gun.

      Why more people are not demanding a federal investigation of these and other events is beyond me. There are smoking guns visible across the horizon. The california judiciary is virtually silenced because it is all the subject of pending or impending litigation and the judicial branch itself is stunned to various degrees at all levels. Even the committee on accountability and administrative review stated to me that they would wait for the outcome of my litigation before taking further action and acted as if these serious matters were not something that they could discuss. This large collective of events cannot be simply explained away as coincidence. The only good to appear to come from all of this is the legislative and executive recognition that there is something afoul in dodge city and perhaps extending these whistleblower protections is a good idea, given the smoking guns everyone can see and despite the AOC having some 200 attorneys on staff.

      Still remaining is the lack of any legitimate body to investigate these matters in an independent light. I can’t think of any body empowered with investigative authority that can look into these matters other than the FBI, can you? By all appearances, there is no state law enforcement entity that can conduct a proper investigation. When and if that investigation happens, I can’t imagine it being anything less than a RICO investigation, given the large collective of events where all paths lead back to the AOC.

      So, in my mind, it isn’t merely writing the appointees of the Judicial Council about governance responsibilities as they abdicated that responsibility some time ago with a vote by email. Nothing in the current judicial council agenda would lead anyone to believe that anything is amiss or that anyone is living up to their fiduciary responsibility to protect taxpayer funds, to provide fair and equal access to justice or to be open, transparent and accountable. Rather, the course chosen is one of if we ignore it, it will go away sooner or later.

      So, as I have done before, I implore everyone to not consider these events as isolated incidences and matters of mere coincidence. These matters rise to the level of federally prosecutable crimes against the people. Collectively, they all rise to the level of racketeering and by appearance, all roads lead back to AOC management.

      So if you haven’t yet done so, kindly write your U.S. Attorney and your local office of the FBI and even Eric Holder himself and express your concerns.

      Thank you.

  44. JusticeCalifornia

    Michael Paul said:
    “I can’t think of any body empowered with investigative authority that can look into these matters other than the FBI, can you? By all appearances, there is no state law enforcement entity that can conduct a proper investigation. When and if that investigation happens, I can’t imagine it being anything less than a RICO investigation, given the large collective of events where all paths lead back to the AOC.”

    Yes Michael, it is so big. . . . .but I believe it is bigger than the AOC.

    My personal opinion is that Ron George himself may be involved in the Marin destruction of documents. He personally put Turner on the Judicial Council days before the audit was officially approved, and the above -mentioned high-profile custody case was pending in the CA Supreme Court — in all of its ugly, well documented glory–as the document destruction was approved by the AOC and commenced by Judicial Council member Turner under Marin PJ Verna Adams’ watch. The issues before Big Ron?

    The legality of what Verna Adams and Marin Family Court Services had done and was doing in Marin county custody cases.

  45. JusticeCalifornia, I don’t know if you went to the Marin County BOS meeting today but if you did, it might be interesting to other bloggers if you could share your observations of what was said.

  46. Nuts and Bolts of Obstruction of Justice Law

    Criminal practitioners refer to “obstruction of justice” as a collective term for a series of federal crimes. Conduct may constitute obstruction of justice , if the following elements are present:

    1) The existence of a “pending proceeding.” (Like a JLAC Audit or a lawsuit against unlicensed contractors)
    2) The defendant must know or have notice of the proceeding. (Check)
    3) The defendant must endeavor to obstruct justice. (Check)
    4) The defendant must act corruptly with the specific intent to obstruct or interfere with the proceeding. (Check)
    5) The defendant’s conduct must have the natural and probable effect of interfering with the proceeding. (Check)

  47. What’s up with this?

    August 20, 2010

    COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL PERFORMANCE
    455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14400
    San Francisco, California 94102

    RE: Ethics Complaint Against Chief Justice Ronald George for Attending a Bondage Party with Sexually Explicit Materials

    INTRODUCTION AND NOTICE OF COMPLAINT:

    Please register a formal ethics complaint against the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Mr. Ronald George, for misconduct relating to his attendance at a bondage party which included displays of sexually explicit materials including, but not limited to, a semi-nude women dancing in a shower as entertainment. By attending this event, Chief Justice Ronald George demonstrated a demeaning, offensive, and disdainful attitude toward women, something which is wholly unbecoming of a Chief Justice of a state supreme court.

    Although the Chief Justice’s misconduct took place outside the Court and involved an extra-judicial activity, it is well established that judges – particularly the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – are the subject of constant public scrutiny, and must at all times act in a manner that prom otes public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary. Judges must therefore often accept restrictions on their conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by ordinary citizens, and must conduct their everyday affairs in a manner beyond reproach. Off-the-bench conduct that is inconsistent with proper judicial demeanor undermines public confidence in the judiciary and, as such, constitutes misconduct.

    By analogy, and as reported by the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Alex Kozinski (Chief Justice Ronald George’s Beverly Hills neighbor and Chief Judge of the nation’s largest federal judicial circuit) was recently admonished for possessing satirical photographs with sexual overtones on his home computer to which the public had access.

    I. SUMMARY OF FACTS

    Ronald Marc George serves as the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. In addition, in his role as Chief Justice he also serves as Chair of the California Judicial Council. Ronald George also served as Chair of t he Advi sory Committee to Implement the Gender Fairness Proposals (1991-94) and of the Subcommittee on Gender Bias in the Courts (1991-94).

    The San Francisco Chronicle, a leading newspaper, reported that in or about June 2010, Chief Justice Ronald George attended a party in the “SOMA” neighborhood of San Francisco. The party took place in a building which was once the home of “Mr. S Leather,” a leather, latex, and bondage toy shop. The party was organized by interior designer Ken Fulk and his partner, Kurt Wootton.

    The San Francisco Chronicle further reported that the party had all the ingredients of a perfect 1990s bondage club party, including:

    · Men standing out front to greet guests clad in leather vests and pants, bare chests, and top hats;
    · Bustier-clad women with thigh-high leather boots and riding crops sitting saucily on sofas; and
    · Entertainment by a drag-queen, Fauxnique.

    Shockingly, SFLUXE (another publication reporting on the event) provided proof in the form of a photograph that a seminude woman danced in the shower during the party. Apparently, different performers danced in the shower throughout the night.

    The photos can be viewed at http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/

    II. ANALYSIS

    It is requested that the Chief Justice be disciplined by the California Commission on Judicial Performance. While his actions were outside the scope of his performance of official duties, they nevertheless had a prejudicial effect on the administration of the business of the courts, including a substantial and widespread lowering of public confidence in the judiciary.

    Simply put, a Chief Justice should not attend a party, be it in liberal San Francisco or conservative Orange County, where the program include “bustier-clad women with thigh-high leather boots and riding crops sitting saucily on sofas,” and semi-na ked women dance in the shower. Such conduct is sexist, demeaning, and otherwise objectifies women; by attending this event, the Chief Justice appears to condone this message.

    In addition to Chief Justice George’s disdainful and demeaning attitudes toward women, George’s conduct in exhibiting poor judgment with respect to this matter also created a public controversy and resulted in embarrassment to the entire California judiciary.
    Accordingly, the Commission should discipline Chief Justice George for his misconduct.
    ________________________________________

  48. JusticeCalifornia

    I’m trying to think of something polite to say. Nothing is coming to mind.

  49. Wendy Darling

    Sadly, some, if not many, of us are not even surprised by this.

  50. this is part two. I have no idea if any of this is fact or fiction. Plus is the pix really the CJ?

    http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2010/08/22/the-social-diaries-of-chief-justice-ronald-george-part-2-adventures-in-san-francisco-9221087/

  51. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    The party was held for Denise Hale and had a who’s-who list of attendees including Ronald and Barbara George.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/chronstyle/detail?entry_id=63516

    I don’t know if the CJP complaint is real.

  52. JusticeCalifornia

    This is real: we got confirmation today that the mediation files in a second high profile custody case involving allegations of serious misconduct of Verna Adams and Marin Family Court Services were destroyed. This was the case where Ron George assigned the determination of a CCP 170.1 ethical challenge of Verna Adams to a judge who had been reprimanded by the CJP for backdating a court order and lying about it.
    Oh, and in September 2009, just 10 minutes after the AOC gave Judicial Council member Kim Turner the green light to immediately destroy Marin County mediation files, Turner gave the order to destroy the files– and she copied then Marin PJ Verna Adams.

    • Wendy Darling

      Again, not surprising. Disgusting yes, but not surprising.

      And again, the question remains: What, if anything, is anyone in any position of authority, such as law enforcement or the district attorney’s office, doing about this? Anything? Anything at all?

  53. WiseEmployee

    I have heard the same about the complaint against the CJ not being real. Where did this document come from?

  54. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    This was a black tie fundraising event held in a private residence. If it had been an actual bdsm or bondage event located in San Francisco instead of a themed vanilla event, there would be full nudity, pain, paddles, floggers, whips and bondage involved. Bathing suits in the shower don’t count. While the appearances at an event such as this might raise the eyebrows of “vanillas” my eyebrow will raise when I see him at a real bdsm or bondage event or walking out of the power exchange sex club.

  55. JusticeCalifornia

    The alleged CJP complaint is on the lesliebrodie website courtflea gave.
    What I thought was interesting was the Thomas Girardi story on that website:
    http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2010/08/19/an-update-on-chief-justice-ronald-george-and-thomas-girardi-9209026/
    If the allegations in that article are true, it is another interesting Judicial Council member/Ron George story.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      Taken straight out of a scientology playbook no less. There are a number of well respected jurists that sit amongst a number of questionable appointees who appear to have or alleged to have done wrong but are given a free pass. I would argue that this happens so that these appointees will be comfortable in their new puppet strings. George will scratch your back and expects you to scratch his in return. This is one of the reasons democratization of the judicial council is an attractive proposition.

  56. Wise Employee: I got the info from an email going around. Hence, my disclaimer that I had no idea if fact or fiction.

  57. JusticeCalifornia

    Wendy, re your question about the destruction of Marin Family Court documents and law enforcement:
    Certain of us have put together a nice packet of information that is being disseminated, with a request for a federal criminal investigation.
    The problem with the Marin Sheriff and DA is that they have been CONSTANTLY apprised of, and asked to investigate, the lawbreaking activity of Verna Adams, other family court bench members, and/or Marin Family Court Services. Family Court victims are either ignored, or constantly told to go back to Family Court.
    But, now that the Marin Family Court has essentially proven its guilt by conspiring to destroy and actually destroying incriminating Marin Family Court evidence to cover its tracks in the middle of a state investigation, we have a whole new (criminal) ball game.
    So maybe now the Marin criminal authorities will listen. But we are not relying on that hope–we are going federal.

  58. JusticeCalifornia

    Obi, of course you are precisely correct that the puppet master on the Judicial Council is Ron George, who appoints the members of the Judicial Council. Perhaps he sold his soul a long time ago, and he has been paying the bill. Perhaps that is why he “decided to retire”, before what he has done is fully discovered and realized by all.

    The Judicial Council sets policy for the Judicial Branch of State of California, and as such, all of its very few members should be beyond reproach, ethically, professionally, and personally.

    That is a very high bar, but those who cannot meet it need not apply.

    Leaving aside the issue of whether George — the Chief Justice of the largest judiciary in the Western world– appropriately attended that masked S and M themed birthday party (which may be vanilla in SF and other very limited parts of the country, but would shock most of the mainstream U.S . world-at-large), George has purposefully appointed historically, ethically challenged individuals to key positions on the Judicial Council and elsewhere in his administration and on his advisory committees, and they have done (foreseeable) ethically challenged things. That is a fact. I think that fact will ultimately be his historical downfall, and, notwithstanding his achievements, ultimately his historical legacy. Birds of a feather flock together.

  59. JusticeCalifornia

    I missed the Judicial Council meeting today (how was it?) because several organizations went to Sacramento to talk about the destruction of family court evidence by the AOC, Judicial Councilmember Kim Turner, and 2009 Marin Presiding Judge Verna Adams while the JLAC audit was ongoing.

    I have to hand it to the AOC employees, and the ACJ, and everyone who has been to Sacramento to talk about CCMS, court maintenance and destruction, and whistleblower retaliation, because those we talked to were already VERY aware of the horrific problems and practices in the judicial branch, the concept of stonewalling and destruction of evidence, waste, whistleblower retaliation, the complete lack of accountability, and/or the AOC’s opinion that state laws simply don’t apply to the judicial branch. Period.
    We asked for a formal criminal investigation, which sparked some interesting conversations. . . .

    One thing is for sure. Ron George’s “business as usual” has worn very thin, and simply isn’t working anymore. I don’t know what all the evidence is that top leadership has been shredding, but the dignity, credibility and respect for the judicial branch has been tossed in the shredders right along with those incriminating documents.

    Out with the old, in with the new.

    • The level of awareness of what is going on at the legislative level, told from far more people than just myself, who tell a similar story from a their own perspective and have provided evidence has been amazing. Employees for both of the unlicensed contractors, other licensed contractors, aoc employees, court employees and employee unions and now, mainstream media is asking questions of the AOC and the answers they are getting simply aren’t matching up to the evidence or the AOC’s official version of events.

  60. JusticeCalifornia

    I forgot to mention the democratization of the judicial council, and other oversight measures. Thank you ACJ.
    Seriously, the level of awareness we saw today was amazing.

    • Wendy Darling

      They are aware, but again the question is: What, if anything, is anyone in Sacramento actually going to do about any of what they now know to be true? Anything? Anything at all.

      And as for “in with the new,” nothing new at the AOC, especially in the HR division. The misery continues to get worse.

      There were some very interesting meetings going on at the AOC today however – not the JC meeting, but apparently the current HR Director (that would be Fuentes again) spent a number of hours in the Executive Office on the 5th floor, trying to explain “why HR exists.” Apparently, the current HR Director needed notes to try and remember and explain it.

  61. JusticeCalifornia

    Wendy, my sense is that perhaps for the very first time, as people are coming forward to consistently report third branch misconduct and demand change and oversight, the legislative branch is starting to realize the “all powerful” CA judicial branch as we know it under RG has NO checks and balances or meaningful accountability whatsoever, and that current top judicial leadership (such that it is, in its lame duck status) is playing that to the hilt as terminal members struggle mightily to cover their asses, and destroy documents, and bluster, and delay, and cover up what has transpired under RG. I think many of those in the legislative branch dealing with judicial issues are somewhat shocked, mortified, and overwhelmed at what they have learned in the last year or two, and what they are now observing as they try to perform just a tiny bit of oversight into RG’s empire. That is good. Some are not shocked at all, because they have seen what has been going on for a long time. That is also good.
    I agree with Michael Paul that law enforcement (particularly federal) is key, and I think the same educational effort has to take place .
    That is where some of us are now going to focus (while keeping up the efforts with the legislature, especially as the November transitions take place, and new members must be brought up to speed.)
    After today–now more than ever — I realize how powerful joint efforts are in effecting change.

  62. Rumors from New Judges College (where new judges are required to go for two weeks to learn how to be a judge in California) are floating about including commentary on Bill Vickrey’s opening day 15 minute welcome speech that droned on for, so I hear, over an hour. Sunshine would like to know why Bill Vickrey gets called on to indoctrinate new judges? Does how to be a judge in California include learning that Bill Vickrey runs the show and you better understand right up front who butters your bread? Rumor has it that the judges didn’t like listening to Bill Vickrey, especially when he referred to our Chief Justice Elect as “Tani” and went way beyond his allotted time. Not only has the ACJ been effective with the legislators, but new judges are hearing the ACJ message loud and clear. New trial judges are heard complaining that Vickrey gives the impression that he is their superior.

  63. JusticeCalifornia

    Michael, is this the FBI division to which you reported? (public corruption)
    http://www.fbi.gov/page2/mar10/corruption_032610.html
    San Francisco, CA: (800) 376-5991

    • michael paul

      Yes.

      • JusticeCalifornia

        Did you report to the U.S. DOJ?
        Certain organizations are going to Washington in the next six weeks, protesting, starting at the DOJ, and they will be discussing the document destruction.

  64. Sunshine, you bet Bill V is there to tell it like it is and try to indoctrinate new judges. And for him to drag a speach out for way more the alloted time AND still say nothing is nothing new. To refer to the new CJ by her first name in such a familiar fashion in that venue is disgusting. What happened to the Chief? I am getting concerned that Bill V has come out of hiding and showing his face again. Sounds like AOC admin is regaining their confidence. Not good news. To all of you new judges out there…be very very afraid of that man and what he represents. He certainly thinks he is your superior. If he ever contacts you directly, put him in his place and transfer his call to your court exec. If you follow the Bill V path you may as well be selling your soul.

  65. JusticeCalifornia

    Out with the old, in with the new.
    That is the mantra of the forward-thinking members of the third branch.
    And that may be the way our new Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye would like it.
    Shredding documents, and the integrity of the third branch, at the expense of taxpayers, parents, and children, may not be her style.
    Let’s see.

  66. JusticeCalifornia

    The times they are a changin’. . .

    Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be drenched to the bone.
    If your time to you
    Is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’
    Or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who
    That it’s namin’.
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside ragin’.
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’.
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    The line it is drawn
    The curse it is cast
    The slow one now
    Will later be fast
    As the present now
    Will later be past
    The order is
    Rapidly fadin’.
    And the first one now
    Will later be last
    For the times they are a-changin’.

  67. JC I hope to G you are right.

  68. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    There is an article in the recorder today that mentions the JC’s continued funding mechanism for CCMS. Given this article requires a subsription and others may be better apprised of the gory details, where will this money be coming from?

  69. PattyJaneSmith

    Obi – More than likely the money will be coming from the Trial Court Trust Fund, the Modernization Fund and the Trial Court Improvement Fund. Same places where most of the money for CCMS and other technology projects have come from. They’ll say that these are end balances in these accounts. Plus, it’s not a secret they have always said they would fund technology projects from these accounts along with any appropriations they recieve for technology purposes from the Legislature. My concern is that we are more than likely to face another deficit budget next year and that the end balances from those accounts should be reserved to help courts.

  70. PattyJaneSmith

    Judicial Council Ups Budget Authority for CCMS
    Kate Moser
    The Recorder
    August 27, 2010
    SAN FRANCISCO — Over objections from some trial court judges, the Judicial Council voted today to advance a proposal that would finance statewide technology improvements with money tapped from funds devoted to the trial courts.
    Despite written opposition sent to the council, the proposal passed with little debate.
    Third District Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, newly confirmed this week to succeed Chief Justice Ronald George, voted in favor of the proposal, as did all but one member of the council.
    At issue was whether to increase the Administrative Office of the Courts’ authority to take money from special funds — including the Trial Court Improvement Fund and the Trial Court Trust Fund — to spend around $40 million on technology improvements, including implementing the Court Case Management System, during the next two fiscal years.
    Backers of the CCMS — which is meant to replace an existing patchwork of computer systems in place around the state — say it will allow court information to be better shared and accessed between courts, law enforcement and the public. But critics say the project has been poorly managed, pointing to ever-increasing cost estimates and delivery delays.
    Friday’s budget discussion tapped into that simmering debate. The Alliance of California Judges saw the proposal as an unauthorized raid on the trial courts.
    The alliance’s David Lampe, a Kern County Superior Court judge, wrote to the council, urging it to postpone a decision on the matter until trial courts had a chance to weigh in. He also asked the council to seek trial court consent in the future to fund the CCMS or other technology projects with the Trial Court Trust Fund.
    In a separate letter, Presiding Judge Stephen White of Sacramento County Superior Court said the council “should obtain the informed consent of the affected trial courts, as required by law. At a minimum, the council should afford trial courts a meaningful opportunity to be heard before the council addresses the proposed transfer.”
    At today’s meeting, judiciary leaders immediately tried to head off the concerns.
    The head of the AOC, William Vickrey, assured council members that the proposal would come back to them for a detailed discussion on the merits of moving the money out of the trust fund. The point of approving the proposal was only to initiate a discussion with legislators and the governor’s office, he added.
    “There’s no trying to slip anything in here,” echoed Stephen Nash, director of the AOC’s finance division.
    Judicial Council member David Wesley, of Los Angeles County Superior Court, wasn’t persuaded. He suggested the Trial Court Trust Fund be taken out of the proposal.
    After Wesley raised his objections, George turned to council member Richard Huffman of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, and asked whether the objections weren’t premature.
    Huffman agreed. “By this action, we’re not taking a dime from anyone under any circumstances,” he said.
    Wesley cast the lone vote against the proposal.
    After the meeting, he said he supported the CCMS, “but before I take money from the trial courts to support a computer program, I want to make sure the trial courts are properly funded.”

  71. Wendy Darling

    “Over objections from some trial court judges, the Judicial Council voted today to advance a proposal that would finance statewide technology improvements with money tapped from funds devoted to the trial courts.
    Despite written opposition sent to the council, the proposal passed with little debate. Third District Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, newly confirmed this week to succeed Chief Justice Ronald George, voted in favor of the proposal, as did all but one member of the council.”

    Nothing “new” here.

  72. Wendy Darling

    Published today, August 30, in Legal Pad, the CalLaw legal news blog:

    George’s Career Memorialized With Building, Bobblehead
    [Kate Moser]

    Chief Justice Ronald George was surprised by two honors at Friday’s Judicial Council meeting.

    The first was Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter’s report that the state legislature is working on a bill to rename the state office building in San Francisco where the Supreme Court resides. Its new name: the Ronald M. George Justice Center.

    “Since assuming office as California’s 27th Chief Justice in 1996, Ronald M. George has provided visionary, inspirational, and collaborative leadership that has been pivotal in the transformation of California’s court system into a truly statewide system with the unifying goal of equal access to fair and consistent justice for all in every venue in the state,” the bill reads, in part.

    “Needless to say, I feel deeply moved and grateful,” George said at the council meeting. Then he joked, “it does in a way seem like a sneak preview of one’s obit.” And finally, he deflected the attention toward the chief justice nominee, Third District Court of Appeal Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye: “We could not be in better hands,” he said.

    Cantil-Sakauye didn’t miss a beat. “I really note the way you turned this accolade of you into me,” she said, prompting another round of applause for George.

    Later in the meeting, departing council member Anthony Capozzi, a Fresno attorney, presented George with a bobblehead in his likeness. Being memorialized with a building was surely an honor on par with being “bobbled,” George joked.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      So whose name gets stripped off of what building? Earl Warren or Hiram W. Johnson? And how do others feel about that? How do their families feel about that and is there any precedence? Most importantly, they might review their own rules on courthouse naming and just honor him with the bobblehead. It’s a more befitting tribute and it doesn’t scream ‘we broke the rules for you.’

  73. Its like barf me out
    gag me with a spoon!

  74. Wendy Darling

    If the building was renamed the “Ronald M. George Injustice Center” it would be more accurate and much less offensive and objectionable.

  75. JusticeCalifornia

    That is not all. The Judicial Council is on a roll, defending their own. I understand the giving of awards to deflect attacks is a common practice. . . . check this out:

    “Judicial Council of California
    Contact: Lynn Holton, Public Information Officer

    August 30, 2010 – NR #44/10
    Telephone: 415-865-7726 / 7740

    Assemblymember Mike Feuer Honored With
    Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award

    San Francisco—Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) will receive the Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award for his work to strengthen the independence of the California court system, on a vote by the Judicial Council of California on August 27.

    The award, to be presented at a later date, is named after the late Justice Stanley Mosk, who spent almost six decades in public service as California Attorney General, judge, and Supreme Court justice and was well known for his unwavering support of individual liberties.

    Assembly Member Feuer was chosen as the award recipient for his leadership and commitment, in partnership with the judicial branch, to achieve positive changes in state court administration and for his personal dedication and willingness to advance the course of justice.

    Elected to office in 2006, Assembly Member Feuer has been a leader in handling many significant issues facing California and the courts, including reform of the state’s budget process, and recently, crafting solutions for critical budget and policy issues facing the judicial branch. Shortly after his appointment in March 2010 as Majority Leader, Assembly Member Feuer took the lead in securing sufficient revenue to keep California courts open and operating.

    As a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, he has consistently supported efforts to ensure that the judicial branch is adequately funded in order to carry out its constitutional responsibilities. He also has supported efforts to authorize and fund new judgeships and to advance the branch’s projects to improve court infrastructure.

    In 2010, Assembly Member Feuer was named an Attorney of the Year by California Lawyer magazine for authoring AB 590, the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act that creates a groundbreaking program to provide lawyers to indigent litigants in civil cases.

    He also authored legislation to advance the Judicial Council’s goal to improve public access to the courts and legal services, including a bill to enable county social services departments to identify family members of foster children and expand efforts to place foster children with relatives. Another bill modified laws governing court fee waivers, improving indigents’ access to the courts and allowing the courts to recover fees where appropriate.

    The Judicial Council is the policymaking body of the California courts, the largest court system in the nation. Under the leadership of the Chief Justice and in accordance with the California Constitution, the council is responsible for ensuring the consistent, independent, impartial, and accessible administration of justice. The Administrative Office of the Courts carries out the official actions of the council and ensures leadership and excellence in court administration. “

  76. JusticeCalifornia

    Here is the other bulletin, broken into 3 parts (Scotland, Childs, Steinberg). I don’t have information about Justice Scotland, and have no comment about him, but find it interesting that the name of his award has been changed. I do know about the other two (Curt Childs and Senator Steinberg)

    “Judicial Council of California
    Contact: Lynn Holton, Public Information Officer

    August 30, 2010 – NR #43 / 10
    Telephone: 425-865-7726 / 7740 / 8044

    Judicial Council Announces 2010
    Winners of Distinguished Service Awards

    Three Honored for Service to Justice System and Public

    San Francisco—The Judicial Council of California has announced the winners of its 2010 Distinguished Service Awards. The highest honors given by the council, the awards are presented to those who demonstrate extraordinary leadership and make significant contributions to the administration of justice in California.

    The program is now in its 17th year, and the awards will be presented later in 2010. The recipients follow.

    Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence

    This award honors members of the judiciary for their extraordinary dedication to the highest principles of the administration of justice. the chairs of the Judicial Council’s internal committees. The award, previously called the Jurist of the Year Award, was renamed to honor Chief Justice Ronald M. George, by the chairs of the council’s internal committees.

    Administrative Presiding Justice Arthur G. Scotland, of the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District (Sacramento), was honored for his contributions to the statewide administration of justice, his leadership of the Third Appellate District, and his humanitarian work in Sacramento.

    A jurist for 23 years, Justice Scotland has served on both the trial and appellate courts. As a member of the Court of Appeal for 21 years, he has written numerous significant opinions on important legal issues.

    In addition to his contributions to the law, Justice Scotland has demonstrated great leadership and extraordinary commitment to the administration of justice. In 2000, he spearheaded the Third Appellate District’s outreach program, holding oral argument sessions in high schools throughout the court’s 23 counties to educate students about California’s justice system. The program won a 2001 Ralph N. Kleps Award for Improvement in the Administration of the Courts and has held 20 off-site sessions in the past 10 years.

    For years, Justice Scotland has served as member and president of the Anthony M. Kennedy American Inns of Court to improve the professionalism, civility, and ethics of judges, lawyers, and law students. He also has served as president of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal, where he spearheaded the creation of a long-range planning committee and an administration of justice committee.

    In 2005, Justice Scotland received a public service award from the American Board of Trial Advocates, Sacramento Valley Chapter, for his service to the community. In 2002, he was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Sacramento County Bar Association for his volunteer work in a residential and treatment facility for abused and neglected children. In 2004, he was named Judge of the Year by the Sacramento County Bar Association.

    Justice Scotland has served on the Judicial Council and its Family and Juvenile Law Advisory Committee, Advisory Committee on Juvenile Court Law, and Administrative Presiding Justices Advisory Committee.”

    (to be continued)

  77. JusticeCalifornia

    “Judicial Administration Award

    This award honors individuals in judicial administration for significant contributions to and leadership in their profession.

    Curtis L. Child, director of the Office of Governmental Affairs of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), was chosen for his distinguished service as the chief legislative advocate for the judicial branch and for working to strengthen collaboration between the judicial and legislative branches of government.

    Since his appointment in November 2007, Mr. Child has worked vigorously and successfully to advance the strategic goals and policies of the Judicial Council through his tireless work with the executive and legislative branches of California government. Under his direction, several landmark legislative and budgetary goals were achieved, including the creation of a framework for the largest court facilities financing program in the state’s history, authorizing up to $5 billion in revenue bonds for construction and renovation of 41 courthouses throughout the state with the most immediate and critical needs.

    Most recently, Mr. Child has worked to negotiate a budget proposal for the 2010–2011 fiscal year that will include sufficient funding to keep California courts open to serve the public despite the state’s continuing economic crisis.

    Mr. Child’s office has succeeded in obtaining legislation to implement recommendations of the Judicial Council’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care, of which he is a member. Those recommendations include a measure authorizing the council to implement a cost recovery program for dependency counsel costs and directs that recovered funds be used to reduce caseloads for attorneys. Mr. Child also oversaw, along the California Judges Association, passage of a bill that authorized counties and courts to continue providing local judicial benefits.

    At the same time, Mr. Child has worked closely with the Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee and the Bench-Bar Coalition to ensure that the judicial branch delivers an effective and cohesive message on critical issues to leaders in the executive and legislative branches.

    Before joining the AOC, Mr. Child was the principal consultant to the state Assembly Committee on Human Services and took the lead role on child welfare, foster care, and developmental disabilities issues for the committee. He also established the Sacramento office of the National Center for Youth Law and was responsible for advocacy of child welfare, child support, public benefits, and health-care issues affecting low-income children and families. He served as the director of the California Department of Child Support Services for Governor Gray Davis and was a legal aid attorney for 12 years. ”

    to be continued

  78. JusticeCalifornia

    “Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award

    This award honors individuals other than members of the judiciary for their outstanding contributions to the courts of California.

    Senator Darrell S. Steinberg, President pro Tempore of the California Senate, was selected for his outstanding legislative service to Californians and for working effectively to resolve the State Budget last year to minimize the impact on the judicial branch and court users.

    Senator Steinberg’s service to California has earned him numerous awards and citations, including the 2010 John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, the nation’s most prestigious honor for public servants, for leading a bipartisan effort to solve California’s devastating budget deficit in 2009.

    Most recently, Senator Steinberg has worked with Assembly Member Mike Feuer, Assembly Majority Leader and chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, to obtain a consensus on the 2010–2011 State Budget that seeks to minimize the effect of the state’s budget crisis on the judicial branch, keep California courthouses open for service to the public, and avoid statewide court closures and staff layoffs.

    Senator Steinberg also carried bills in the Legislature to provide for continuous appropriation of revenues dedicated to courthouse construction projects and to authorize counties and courts to continue to provide local judicial benefits to superior court judges. He also has sponsored bills to improve accountability, educational consistency, and stable placements for children in foster care and to require the state Department of Mental Health to take measures to help foster children obtain mental health services.

    As an Assembly member, he served on the Judicial Council from 2000 to 2002, actively supporting the council’s goals for the fair administration of justice and efficient operation of the courts, and he continued that support as President pro Tempore of the California Senate.”

    My comments: Steinberg and Childs pushed through the Judicial Council’s increasingly controversial SBX211 legislation. I know virtually all judges support it, but the public is disgusted by what happened.
    And Steinberg is the one who gave the judicial branch the following advice, during the November 2006 Summit of Judicial Leaders, about how to fend off criticism and challenges:
    “BUILD AS BIG A WALL AS POSSIBLE, AND PLAY DEFENSE”.
    Which is precisely what the courts are doing with the JLAC auditors and anyone else who tries to exercise oversight. . . .

  79. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    On the cover of the pink floyd album “Wish You Were Here” is one man shaking hands with another who happens to be on fire – as if nothing is wrong.

  80. like I said, gag me with a spoon. Listening to all of this self gratification makes me think these folks are going to grow hair on their palms, and reading this makes me want to go clean my cat box. Putas Putas Putas. ‘scuse me for the language. Hideous.

  81. JusticeCalifornia

    Yes, and I will say this.
    I have been doing this for 11 very long, grueling years, documenting and reporting all along the way.
    I find that my files are more important today (including jaw-dropping e-mails, correspondence and pleadings) than they have ever been.
    When the judicial/legislative/criminal inquiries are ultimately done–and by God they will be done–regarding this document destruction in Marin (involving top leadership), and other interesting CA court issues, the (judicial, legislative, executive) files will show who knew, who participated, who ignored, who tried to help, and who covered it all up.
    My advice after 11 long years: Document and report, everything you know, to everybody. In the trial courts (the bench and administration), to the AOC, to the Judicial Council, to the CJP, to law enforcement, and to the legislature.
    These files are gold.
    JC

  82. Wendy Darling

    “When the judicial/legislative/criminal inquiries are ultimately done–and by God they will be done … .” What “judicial/legislative/criminal inquiries”? Are there any? Any at all?

    “Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) will receive the Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award …” Feuer didn’t attend one single meeting of the Judicial Council, not one, during his time on the Council. For this he gets a “Defender of Justice” award? The word hypocrite comes to mind.

    The question has previously been asked – Why is Sacramento protecting the chief justice and the judicial branch? Considering this self-gratification glad-handing mutual admiration love fest between Steinberg, the State Legislature, the current Chief Justice, and the Judicial Council, this would appear to answer that question. This doesn’t suggest anyone in the judicial branch or the legislative branch is even thinking about any kind of an investigation. Or wants one.

    Once again, nothing “new” here. Nothing at all.

  83. JusticeCalifornia

    Wendy, you are right. Although you are more polite than I am. I first learned the term “reach around” on this blog (in reference to appellate reach-arounds). Look that up, along with courtflea’s term “puta”, and I do believe we will have a very good understanding of what has gone down in the CA judiciary, the largest in the Western (secret-third) World.

    But the times, they are a changing.

  84. JusticeCalifornia

    And let me reiterate:

    Certain of those in and out of the legislature fully understand the corruption in the judicial branch–but they are afraid to attack it, as the judicial branch presently has no effective checks and balances– and the AG defends the judicial branch.

    The question facing all is how to fix it.

    Constitutional amendment? Public Initiative? Federal intervention? Skillfully crafted legislation–supported by those responsible legislators who, together, cover the public’s, and each other’s backs? Re-c0nstruction of the currently very-compromised/judicially neutered CJP?

    Or all of the above. . . . .

  85. JusticeCalifornia

    And here is the interesting thing. My esteemed, PR-savvy colleagues and I have not yet (officially) reported the document destruction to law enforcement, as we have individually and collectively asked certain of the legislative branch to seek an investigation by law enforcement.
    I have personally asked Judicial Council members Senator Corbett and Assemblymember Feuer to seek a criminal investigation.
    And as for Darrell Steinberg. . . .

  86. JusticeCalifornia

    I just tried to post 3 times about my e-mail to Darrell Steinberg, and my comments have not posted.

  87. JusticeCalifornia

    Ok. make that about 5 or 6 times, each time changing Darrell’s name.

  88. JusticeCalifornia

    Dear XXX

    My name is [xyz], and I am a family law attorney in Marin County. I have written to you, and sent JusticeCalifornia bulletins to you, on multiple occasions. I will shortly be forwarding to you my recent communications with the Assembly and Senate Judiciary committees.

    I was able to attend the November 2006 San Francisco judicial summit at which you spoke and advised the esteemed audience of presiding judges and court executive officers to address court critics and challengers by “building as big a wall as possible and playing defense.”

    It would appear that you presently have your finger on the pulse of the judicial branch, and understand that imminent and drastic changes are inevitable. I was gratified to see some of your comments with respect to the report issued by the Ron George’s “Commission on Impartial Courts”, particularly with respect to the complete lack therein of any recommendations for mandatory judicial oversight and accountability.

    It would also appear that you are taking the lead in many budget discussions.

    I would like to see you use your leadership position to take the lead in conditioning judicial branch funding requests on the implementation of Judicial Performance Evaluations.

    I would also like to see you use your leadership position to take the lead in getting Richard Fine out of jail, since you took the lead on getting SBX211 passed, and you must understand how both SBX211, and Mr. Fine’s treatment by the CA judicial branch looks to the world.

    Best Regards,

  89. JusticeCalifornia

    To XXX, and those on the Senate and Assembly judiciary committees:

    “A week before Richard Fine was jailed:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8TGCCIg8JI

  90. JusticeCalifornia

    Date: 7/10/10
    To: Corbett, Feuer, Jones

    Senator Corbett and Assemblyman Feuer were named last night in the AOC watcher blog as current Judicial Council members who should be held accountable for addressing whistleblower retaliation/protection issues in the third branch, and fellow Judicial Council member Kim Turner’s reported involvement in the illegal destruction of court records while the JLAC audit is ongoing. See:

    https://aocwatcher.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/discussion-thread-for-aoc-employees/#comment-3709

    Perhaps you should read this entire thread. And the other threads on this blog as well.

    The issues of judicial branch waste, corruption, misconduct and/or retaliation are not going away. You are Judicial Council members and the Judicial Council sets policy for the judicial branch in the State of California . If you do not agree with what is going on, and/or do not want to be lumped with all those perpetuating or protecting third branch misconduct/waste, you may want to step in right now and use your dual leadership positions as current (or, in the case of Dave Jones, former) Judicial Council and Judiciary committee members to provide accountability and protection for the public, and the integrity of the branch as a whole.

    I am requesting that you three, or the combined Judicial Council and Senate and Assembly Judiciary committees, ask the Attorney General and local Marin law enforcement (Sheriff and District Attorney) for an investigation into the Kim Turner record destruction matter. The rumored destruction of court records by Kim Turner and her employees has gone on for years — this is not the first such report.

    I am further suggesting that you take it upon yourselves to listen to, review, and refer to the proper authorities the complaints of third branch employees who report that they have been suffering and are continuing to suffer whistleblower retaliation. I further suggest you make time to meet with and consider complaints and concerns of members of the 58 county superior courts, before believing that Ron George is “speaking with one voice” regarding governance of the third branch, or supporting his claim that he is. He clearly is not. And for heaven’s sake, demand the “real numbers” on how much CCMS has cost– bottom line (something the AOC apparently has not yet revealed)– and find out what all the problems are, and when it is supposed to REALLY be launched, how much it is going to cost between now and then, and whether or not it is already outdated. You may also want to inquire about how much the third branch is paying in-house and private counsel to defend against lawsuits, challenges and reported misconduct involving third branch bench and administration members. And, while discussing financial matters, perhaps you should poll the public to see how they feel about having court services cut back, causing delays and jeopardizing their cases (for example, In Marin County Kim Turner is sending available court reporters to their offices to sit quietly, instead of being utilized in court to create records that can be used to memorialize what is happening—ask me for details), while $25 million is being spent to build a one-courtroom courthouse in Alpine County (the smallest county in the state, I understand), and $455 million is being spent on a new Sacramento courthouse.

    Taking these actions would be good government, and a great use of your leadership positions on the Judicial Council, and Judiciary committees. Ignoring or minimizing repeated reports of misconduct in the Judicial Branch, and refusing to take steps to implement responsible judicial oversight (such as Judicial Performance Evaluations) is not. As you are witnessing, the number of vocal concerned citizens inside and outside the branch is growing, not shrinking.

    Thank you.

    [name] for JusticeCalifornia”

  91. JusticeCalifornia


    Thank you Obi–A gorgeous sad song–Ode for Tani and Ron? Will she march lock-step, or will she have the balls to play her own tune? Let’s see.

    “So, so you think you can tell
    Heaven from Hell,
    Blue skys from pain.
    Can you tell a green field
    From a cold steel rail?
    A smile from a veil?
    Do you think you can tell?

    And did they get you to trade
    Your heros for ghosts?
    Hot ashes for trees?
    Hot air for a cool breeze?
    Cold comfort for change?
    And did you exchange
    A walk on part in the war
    For a lead role in a cage?

    How I wish, how I wish you were here.
    We’re just two lost souls
    Swimming in a fish bowl,
    Year after year,
    Running over the same old ground.
    What have we found?
    The same old fears.
    Wish you were here.”

    Okay, I am taking a rest. . .
    but by the way, what is that bill number, seeking to honor RG?

  92. PattyJaneSmith

    It is SCR 126.

    • JusticeCalifornia

      Thank you. Here is the text. Very sneaky of Steinberg, Corbett and Feuer to give virtually no lead time on this — and do it while the budget is being dealt with. Hmmm. . . .sounds familiar.

      BILL NUMBER: SCR 126 INTRODUCED
      BILL TEXT

      INTRODUCED BY Senators Corbett and Steinberg
      (Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Feuer)

      AUGUST 25, 2010

      Relative to Chief Justice Ronald M. George Justice Center.

      LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

      SCR 126, as introduced, Corbett. Chief Justice Ronald M. George.
      In honor of the service of Ronald M. George as the Chief Justice
      of California, this measure designates the Civic Center Complex,
      comprised of the Earl Warren Building and the Hiram W. Johnson State
      Office Building, located at the Civic Center Plaza in the City and
      County of San Francisco, as the Ronald M. George Justice Center.
      Fiscal committee: yes.

      WHEREAS, Ronald M. George has distinguished himself as an
      exceptional Chief Justice of California, responsible for achieving
      unprecedented improvements in the administration of justice in our
      state, and is acknowledged as a jurist dedicated to the rule of law,
      intellectual rigor, impartiality, integrity, and judicial excellence
      in all its forms; and
      WHEREAS, Since assuming office as California’s 27th Chief Justice
      in 1996, Ronald M. George has provided visionary, inspirational, and
      collaborative leadership that has been pivotal in the transformation
      of California’s court system into a truly statewide system with the
      unifying goal of equal access to fair and consistent justice for all
      in every venue in the state; and
      WHEREAS, Chief Justice George worked tirelessly with the
      Legislature, and successive Governors, as well as within the judicial
      branch, to maintain strong and cooperative working relationships
      that were essential to accomplishing the reforms that were central to
      the recognition and operation of our state judiciary. These efforts
      culminated in historic enactments resulting in state funding for the
      trial courts the unification of 220 municipal and superior courts
      into 58 trial courts, one in each county, and the transfer of
      California’s court facilities from county to state ownership under
      the management of the judicial branch; and
      WHEREAS, Chief Justice George has fought to advance and protect
      full and equal access to a fair and impartial justice system by
      promoting statewide programs to serve the needs of all Californians,
      including those whose access may be limited by language, disability,
      cultural unfamiliarity, or a lack of resources to employ counsel. He
      has been a consistent voice for the unrepresented and for the
      fundamental importance of judicial impartiality and independence from
      inappropriate influences; and
      WHEREAS, Chief Justice George has been a driving force behind
      myriad branchwide initiatives, including self-help programs, pro bono
      services, education in fairness and cultural competency for judges
      and court staff, public funding for legal services, interpreter
      services, one-day or one-trial jury service, and plain English jury
      instructions. He has worked to promote the fair and respectful
      treatment of all, thereby increasing not only access to justice, but
      also the public’s respect for the operation and integrity of the
      judicial branch of government; now, therefore, be it
      Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly
      thereof concurring, That the Legislature hereby designates the Civic
      Center Complex, comprised of the Earl Warren Building and the Hiram
      W. Johnson State Office Building, located at the Civic Center Plaza
      in the City and County of San Francisco, as the Ronald M. George
      Justice Center, in deep and lasting honor to the extraordinary and
      exemplary service of Chief Justice Ronald M. George as California’s
      27th Chief Justice; and be it further
      Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this
      resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

  93. Wendy Darling

    FYI: There is a rather substantial gathering of higher-ups in dark suits at the AOC today, including Marin Court CEO Kim Turner, apparently for some kind of closed door accountability “hearing”.

  94. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    We’re getting word that Cristy McMahon of AOC Information Services was terminated after complaining that the new security arm of the AOC installed in the SRO regional office was videotaped on a private USB recorder searching Cristy’s personal belongings and cubicle – and that a closed circuit video camera was installed in an air return vent above her desk watching Cristy’s every move.

    She took video and pictures of this camera the day before she was fired. Additionally a keylogger was installed on Cristy’s laptop. She tells a fascinating story about knowing two months before Michael Paul was fired that Michael Paul was “under investigation for whistleblowing and would be terminated” and that she should steer clear of him.

    You may have not known it because disclosure is apparently an offense that you may be terminated for at the AOC but the southern regional office owns a disconnected suite below the current SRO office. This plush suite, which houses OCCM’s SRO operations, was under construction while all the courts were clamoring for additional funds. It is an unlabeled suite so that you don’t know it belongs to the AOC. In essence, another AOC whistleblower who complained about the outlandish costs spent on AOC computers and AOC computer software licensed to the AOC being given to non-AOC employees, like consultants, has been fired after being harassed for two years for reporting it. Again a familiar name is mentioned in the termination and the investigation of the keylogger software having been installed on her computer. Look for yet more litigation against the AOC coming soon to a courthouse near you.

    • Wendy Darling

      Again, nothing “new” here, same old AOC. And so much for whistleblower “protection” for AOC employees. Work in the judicial branch? Tell the truth? Get fired. And the bodies of executed AOC employees continue to pile up at 455 Golden Gate Avenue. Thanks a lot Daryll Steinberg, and the State legislature, way to go.

    • Michael Paul

      Thanks for the contact info Obi. It’s quite amazing that the AOC would go to such lengths. One of those SRO folks contacted me about installing an additional camera to the system and getting it working.

      Having trained Cristy myself regarding the Pelco camera system, she was my designated technical contact and I suggested this person should contact her locally about installing the extra camera. They weren’t willing to do that and insisted I walk them through it. Very, very interesting indeed.

      • Michael Paul

        Yep, it sure resembles a camera in a vent to me. I wonder how the AOC will explain that away.

  95. Now that camera stuff is way against the law, even for an employer, that is without a warrant or other court approval. However, it is obvious in the extreme that the AOC is above the law. Who would investigate? Their new award winners? Yet again it is up to an AOC employee to go through the expenditures of a lawsuit. I’m still in bed overcoming my nausea.

    • Wendy Darling

      The law apply to the AOC and judicial branch administration? Off course not! Who would think such a thing! Heaven forbid! What a thought! Just ask the AOC employees on the 7th floor in HR Division.

  96. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    The AOC is above the law and let me give you yet another example with some evidentiary documentation provided by AOC employees. Building Management Systems, those things that control heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting were initially slated to be removed from the county buildings upon transfer to the state. And then that pesky law stuff got in the way of the Office of Court Construction & Management’s plans for you see, under the new energy code, building management systems are required. So did the AOC turn to its own building management systems experts?
    No.
    Did they contract out these services to a seasoned, experienced building management systems contractor?
    No.
    So what did they do?
    They took a huge wad of your tax dollars and put a dozen jacobs people on a plane bound for Dallas, Texas for a few weeks so that they could gain the training necessary to do their jobs. Now, you might ask yourself: How did that work out for the AOC?
    According to information obtained by us, more than 80% of those that took the training no longer work for Jacobs. They took this valuable, government paid training and walked off to greener pastures.
    In a bid to memorialize this type of training as part of a standard operating plan, OCCM issued written guidelines that called for AOC paid training, AOC paid certification and a full set of policies and procedures that embraced paying the service providers to send their workers out to get this expensive AOC paid training, averaging $2,000.00 per week per worker, to manage and operate these systems over hiring seasoned workers or seasoned consultants already trained and experienced with these systems.

    Not only was the AOC paying these people as seasoned experts, they were paying their seasoned experts wages and their expenses while they sat in class in Dallas, Texas gaining basic systems knowledge.

    Your tax dollars at work.

  97. JusticeCalifornia

    Ever so interesting. Marin County recruits lawyers — and encourages lawyers–to provide pro bono services for financially disadvantaged pro-per clients. In fact, Ron George does too, right?

    Today, in a pivotal reconsideration/473(b) etc. hearing filed by a financially disadvantaged pro-per mom involving one of the two high-profile Marin custody cases mentioned above (the one where Big Ron assigned an ethical CCP 170.1 challenge of Verna Adams to a judge who had been publicly admonished for backdating an order and then lying about it–and whose extraordinarily important mediation file has been illegally destroyed), a Marin lawyer offered to provide pro bono services for that reconsideration/473(b) hearing, and to fill out a Notice of Limited Scope Representation right then and there. The Commissioner demanded that the lawyer come into the case for all purposes. The lawyer asked for two minutes to consult with the financially disadvantaged mother about that, which request the Commissioner denied, stating that the case was not going to become a “political cause”, and that if that mom had wanted a lawyer she would have gotten one. When the lawyer pointed out that the mom had no money to hire a lawyer, she was told to sit down and be quiet. In the course of the hearing, the mom explained that she had tried to get an SF lawyer for the prior custody hearing (at which the Commissioner had stripped the mom of all legal and physical custody of her only very young son), but the SF lawyer had said she needed time and money to review the file, and so she (mom) had asked for a continuance. The Commissioner told the mother he didn’t believe that, at which time the Marin lawyer in the courtroom who had been told to sit down and shut up, and not represent the mom, piped up and said the SF lawyer to which the mom referred had indeed called her, to talk about representing the mom. The Marin lawyer who piped up was removed from the courtroom by the bailiff, at the direction of the Commissioner.

    Hidden cameras, document destruction, railroading. . . . .
    Among other things–corruption, for example– I smell desperation.

  98. JusticeCalifornia

    Can someone please remind me what country we live in?

    • When people get fired for reporting violations of state law, such as using unlicensed contractors, or because they complain of misconduct and retaliation by managers, directors, and administrators, or get fired because they discover their every move is being secretly videotaped by their employer, or told to sit down and shut up and then ordered removed simply because they tried to tell the truth in a judicial administrative hearing, and it’s a public agency that is doing it, and doing it with impunity, and that public agency is the judicial branch, one might consider they are no longer living in a “country” but in a police state.

  99. Out with old, in with the new same old, same old …

  100. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    SCR126 bites the dust in a 6-2 vote with strong opposition from the public.

  101. JusticeCalifornia

    I just checked the legislation, yay!
    Thank you Patty Jane Smith for the head’s up on this so we could be heard.

  102. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Partly from The Recorder and partly from our participation in opposition. The Governor could choose to do the same thing by executive order. I don’t think that’s very high on the guv’s list.

  103. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    We suggest that if there is to be any the Ronald M. George Justice Center, that it be the name of the new death row at San Quentin that should be ready in 2013.

    We figure its a more appropriate neuroassociation.

  104. It would be wonderful if one could look at this vote and truly feel that wisdom prevailed—

    Sadly—this feeble attempt to pay homage to King George failed because the proponents know that they earn their share in the shame that is certain to surface in the near future. The reign of Ron George will be exposed to unfortunately be far more memorable for corruption, mismanagment, abuse of the power that also required responsibility—

    It’s truly a wonderful thing that no one set this ridiculous name in stone, figuatively and literally upon a building that we are coming to understand would have been a fitting headquarters for cold war era KGB….complete with cameras and recording devices—-the recent revelations causes one to speculate upon what future plans were underway for the basement. Perhaps errant AOC employees contemplating whistleblowing could have been brought back into the fold with a trip to downstairs waterboarding or a little electro-therapy….were these the next steps planned following installation of cameras?

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      Well, there is always that guy on the “executive protection” team, the guy who in a previous stint as a Pacifica police officer tased a suspect 7 times resulting in his demise.

      Then again, the AOC did issue OERS a handful of Glocks and cases of ammunition and purchased them “police package” cars, even though they are not sworn officers and cannot effect anything more than a citizens arrest.

      Maybe they’ll just take AOC employees out back and shoot them or tase them to death. Oh. Wait, out back would imply between the state building and FBI headquarters across the street. You’re right SF Whistle, the basement is a more appropriate place.

  105. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    To those who have asked SRO’s Calabro about Suite 100 and have been handed a line of B.S. You might want to go over there and snap some pictures before they rush the sign people out there to properly label the office in a lame attempt to cover their ass.

    Other suites exist statewide, including 3 suites at NCRO, although I don’t believe Patel is being as intentionally dishonest as Calabro is trying to be about the existence of Suite 100. Calabro is particularly concerned about the LA Courts learning of it and when it was being constructed, which for reference was a bit more than a year ago that it was completed.

    • Probably right about the same time that RAD Calabro supposedly got a brand new judicial branch vehicle for her use at taxpayer expense, replacing Calbro’s prior new judicial branch vehicle because Calbro didn’t like the color.

  106. A blip in the Sacto Bee today said the court employee unions (SEIU) were responsible for the demise of the bill to reaname court buildings after RG. They claimed it was a conflict of interest for the legislature to do so when the Legislature has a case before the Supreme Court

  107. Ok, what is Suite 100?

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      Suite 100 is the Office of Court Construction & Management in the Southern Regional Office in Burbank. In the same building as Sheila Calabro & Company… It’s on the floor below the “Official” SRO office. It is an unmarked suite where OCCM spared no expense making themselves a plush and comfy home. Ms. Calabro let it be known that if anyone in the ‘SRO family’ spoke of suite 100, that would be grounds for termination.

      To further conceal the existence of the suite, one who looks in the Conference Room Address list will find no conference rooms in suite 100 listed – because they didn’t want anyone accidentally scheduling a meeting in the suite 100 conference rooms where its existence might become known to others.

      I think the rub here is that the suite was grabbed not because it was needed because it wasn’t. It was grabbed because it became available. It was grabbed and went under construction and remodeling about the same time that the AOC was pleading poor to the courts and could not afford to help them. The total expenditure of this project was around 2 mil including furniture. Again did the AOC require the suite? No! They had ample room already.

  108. JusticeCalifornia

    Well, based upon this shocking information ($2 mil for a private, hidden office?), I would say heads (anyone who knew and participated) must roll.

  109. JusticeCalifornia

    And BTW, certain of those in Marin have given Kim Turner and Verna Adams until September 15, 2010, to voluntarily resign, based upon their direct involvement in the destruction of Marin family court evidence, relevant to the safety of children, while a JLAC audit of the Marin family court was ongoing.
    After September 15, they, and everyone supporting them, are fair game.

  110. JusticeCalifornia

    Thank you courtflea
    http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2010/09/measure-to-name-civic-center-f.html

    And perhaps we should all be calling out and holding accountable anyone and everyone who is pressing so hard to override the public, and the assembly, to force through a resolution honoring a compromised chief justice whose full negative legacy is not yet publicly known.

    There is such desperation in this.

    I wonder if George, Steinberg, Corbett and company are trying to compromise the new Chief Justice, by forcing her to commit as to whether or not she will protect George, in anticipation of the sh** hitting the fan?

    The best thing she could do for herself, and the branch, is refuse to become engaged.

  111. JusticeCalifornia

    What a tasteless joke. . . .at the terrible expense of everyone in the State of California. . .especially those who have been so injured by RG and his hand-picked and/or heretofore protected minions.

    BILL NUMBER: SR 53 INTRODUCED
    BILL TEXT

    INTRODUCED BY Senators Corbett and Steinberg
    (Coauthor: Senator Harman)

    AUGUST 31, 2010

    Relative to Chief Justice Ronald M. George Justice Center.

    LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
    HOUSE OR SENATE RESOLUTIONS DO NOT CONTAIN A DIGEST

    WHEREAS, Ronald M. George has distinguished himself as an
    exceptional Chief Justice of California, responsible for achieving
    unprecedented improvements in the administration of justice in our
    state, and is acknowledged as a jurist dedicated to the rule of law,
    intellectual rigor, impartiality, integrity, and judicial excellence
    in all its forms; and
    WHEREAS, Since assuming office as California’s 27th Chief Justice
    in 1996, Ronald M. George has provided visionary, inspirational, and
    collaborative leadership that has been pivotal in the transformation
    of California’s court system into a truly statewide system with the
    unifying goal of equal access to fair and consistent justice for all
    in every venue in the state; and
    WHEREAS, Chief Justice George worked tirelessly with the
    Legislature, and successive Governors, as well as within the judicial
    branch, to maintain strong and cooperative working relationships
    that were essential to accomplishing the reforms that were central to
    the recognition and operation of our state judiciary. These efforts
    culminated in historic enactments resulting in state funding for the
    trial courts the unification of 220 municipal and superior courts
    into 58 trial courts, one in each county, and the transfer of
    California’s court facilities from county to state ownership under
    the management of the judicial branch; and
    WHEREAS, Chief Justice George has fought to advance and protect
    full and equal access to a fair and impartial justice system by
    promoting statewide programs to serve the needs of all Californians,
    including those whose access may be limited by language, disability,
    cultural unfamiliarity, or a lack of resources to employ counsel. He
    has been a consistent voice for the unrepresented and for the
    fundamental importance of judicial impartiality and independence from
    inappropriate influences; and
    WHEREAS, Chief Justice George has been a driving force behind
    myriad branchwide initiatives, including self-help programs, pro bono
    services, education in fairness and cultural competency for judges
    and court staff, public funding for legal services, interpreter
    services, one-day or one-trial jury service, and plain English jury
    instructions. He has worked to promote the fair and respectful
    treatment of all, thereby increasing not only access to justice, but
    also the public’s respect for the operation and integrity of the
    judicial branch of government; now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, That the
    Senate, in anticipation of his retirement effective January 3, 2011,
    hereby designates the Civic Center Complex, comprised of the Earl
    Warren Building and the Hiram W. Johnson State Office Building,
    located at the Civic Center Plaza in the City and County of San
    Francisco, as the Ronald M. George Justice Center, while maintaining
    the existing names of the buildings, in deep and lasting honor to the
    extraordinary and exemplary service of Chief Justice Ronald M.
    George as California’s 27th Chief Justice; and be it further
    Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this
    resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

    • The only reason I’m not running for Corbett’s job is the 12,000 nominating signatures I had 5 days to gather when I found out the gentle lady from San Leandro had no intention of doing anything about anything, except feather her nest for a cushy job over at the AOC when she is termed out.

      This is the second time she foisted this resolution. And now the organizing starts to let her constituents know that she’s pulled out all the stops to protect unlawful behavior. I’m sure that she’s also the reason that Judicial Branch employees have a right to report wrongdoing but they don’t have a right to their jobs for doing so. That decision rests with the judicial branch agency employing the whistleblower. The State Personnel Board administrative law judges ruling holds no weight in the Judicial Branch. It’s more of an advisory opinion to the judicial branch employer, with the employer making the final decision.

  112. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    George Ryan commuted everyone’s death sentence and was hearalded around the globe. It didn’t stop the federal indictment train from making a stop at his doorstep. And it’s an AMAZING COINCIDENCE that the same company, Jacobs Facilities, Inc is involved in both matters.

  113. JusticeCalifornia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Ryan.

    Interesting. This death sentence thing. Verna Adams just issued an order staying all CA executions “unless and until she says otherwise.” At a time when she is also on the hotseat, potentially facing a very serious criminal investigation.

    So anyway, how was Jacobs Facilities involved in both matters?

  114. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    You know the link you just provided from Wikipedia? Scroll down to Scandals, Trial & Conviction. That tells most, but not all of the story.

    Jacobs paid a bribe for bid rigging, lowering their bid to win the contract after getting insider information about other bids. Ryan and staff was caught doing what RRB & staff are doing – trying to destroy evidence so that there is no investigation and re-assigning investigators.

    And if what the AOC was doing wasn’t enough, we got word an hour ago that yet another whistleblower in SRO was fired. Today it was an OCCM’er who drew the line on fraud and they drew the line on his employment.

    Details to follow.

  115. Michael Paul—-Is Rob Maffit aware enough that this information might be helpful to his campaign? I think your speculation that Corbett is jockeying for an AOC spot when she terms out in 2014 is right on….Strikes me that this information should get to Maffit if for no other reason than to raise pubic awareness of the incestuous relationship that appears to exist based upon what I gather was your experience with her—-and now this ridiculous legislation…

  116. I have a call into Rob. My political leanings are those of a progressive independent but in this case, I see the value of ensuring Rob Maffit goes to Sacramento come November, in spite of his tea party leanings.

  117. I believe Mr. Maffit has new religion. 🙂

  118. Michael–
    Good call—I’m not tea party either….but I find myself increasingly drawn to their message of undoing some of the “change” we were promised in 2008…There are many national events that parallel the same arrogance and lack of accountability that we witness as the basic modus-operandi of our judiciary–
    Corbett pisses me off enough to go walk precincts for Maffit—-the change I would personally like to see occur is all about the corruption in this State’s judiciary—-it has been said that “all politics are local”….seems like a good place to start? I will definately work in whatever campaign can be launched to cause change in this area to come about—

  119. I’ve exchanged email with Robert Maffit and spent some time talking to his aide, David Miller.

    Robert can be reached at rob@defeatcorbett.com and has pledged that if he is elected, he hopes to be able to shed more light on the activities portrayed on this blog (and he has read it ….) and pass some meaningful legislation to subject the AOC to the same public contract code the rest of California is bound by.

  120. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    What as before a trickle of information has transformed into a torrent of information. While pubinfo steadily obstructs requests for information, AOC employees are only too happy to provide it. Many are now convinced that AOC management is corrupt. Towards that end, let us identify some of the players and their roles so that AOC employees know where not to turn to.

    Taking any complaint to John Judnick or the HR department is a career ending move regardless of its merits.

    The following individuals’ titles are misleading. Their real job is to act in the capacity of ‘cleaners’. The more evidence you provide them with, the harder they work to clean up the crime scene.
    John Judnick – Finance Dept. Sr. Manager, internal audits
    Scott Gardner – HR Sr. Labor Relations specialist (and an attorney representing the AOC’s interests)
    Ernesto Fuentes – HR Director- Legendary mastermind behind the LARTD debacle and behind more than 80 firings / force-outs of his own department. Firing whistleblowers and obstructing justice are his specialties. He is not an attorney in Cali because after 3 times of taking the Bar exam, he has yet to pass it.
    Michael Guevara – HR Sr. Manager, Labor relations and another attorney representing the AOC’s interests.
    Kenneth Couch – Comes to the AOC from Sonoma County, where he piled up litigation against the county with his actions and unethical behavior and moved to the AOC to do the same.

    The following individuals are complicit in the bid rigging fraud and if they are not getting the kickbacks, they likely know who is.

    Bill Vickery – Executive Director
    Ron Overholt – ‘Pokey’ to Vickery’s ‘Gumby’

    Sheila Calabro – Runs the SRO office with an iron fist, ordered the camera and keylogger to be installed in the computer and above the desk of Cristy McMahon. Runs a 1.3 billion dollar fraud known as CCMS as if she were a fish removed from the water and flapping around on the pier.

    The Three Unwise Men – Fred Stetson, Jerry Pfab and Kenneth Kachold and we should toss in Nick Cimino and Nick Turner for good measure. All of these people collectively run the Facilities Management Unit and manage the vendor contracts. They have been shielding Jacobs and AGS from any responsibility and shielding them to protect the bid rigging scheme where only the ‘Service Provider’ submits a bid for work to be done. They claim to be contractually bound to use Jacobs and AGS over any alternative regardless of cost ‘because that’s what the contract says’.

    Lee Willoughby & Robert Emerson – Both have known forever that the contractors were unlicensed but used them anyways because “fraud, waste abuse and public corruption laws do not apply to the AOC. ”

    Some of the above have had significant improvements done to their own residential properties over the last 5 years and in some cases, it is alleged that this work was completed using state funds and state resources.

    In Information Services, there is great mystery surrounding quite a few hirings from Siemens Business Systems. After the termination of the Siemens Contract to run the CCTC, a number of management positions magically appeared and were filled by former Siemens people that include Michael Derr, Larry Nipomencio (sp) and new assistant director Mark Moore. Another supervisory position opened up and was filled by yet another siemens person. People across information services are incensed by these offerings being filled by outsiders and that they were not allowed to compete for them. When they discovered Moore and Derr are complicit in the illegal terminations of Paul and McMahon, they no longer trust them. When they found out that Derr wrote a report on the Key Logger software being installed on McMahon’s computer – and that they had used that computer themselves thereby compromising their own passwords and Mr. Derr gave no one a heads up, they are incensed and feel that he undermined their mission of maintaining a secure network.

    Right now, we’re witnessing a purge of AOC personnel who had any gripe about anything improper. We expect a few other heads to be axed before the end of the year and they are all related to the purge.

    For those who are genuinely concerned, your best bet is to seek out a private attorney well before you make any allegation. Under the new whistleblower protection act, those complaints should NOT go to John Judnick but should go to the Bureau of State Audits with a request that if the complaint is forwarded, that your name not be used.

    Protect yourself and your families first. Then, protect the information from untimely destruction so that a proper investigation can take place. Assume your computer at work is monitored by a keystroke logger and that your employer is spying on you. From your own home computer, change any and all passwords to any personal accounts like hotmail, gmail, ebay or any other service that you used a work machine to previously access. Then, do not access these personal resources from the AOC offices or using AOC equipment anymore. Information can be secured by placing data files on a USB drive, printing it out or forwarding it to a personal account outside the agency.

  121. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    We’ve additionally been notified that nearly on queue, current new projects are experiencing massive cost escalations. It appears that when you make a contractor exempt from public contract code, that in itself is a license to steal. Envious that their projects were priced at 800-1000 per square foot, these builders are looking at the real numbers of what the AOC is willing to spend. If you demonstrate that other courthouses are going to be coming in at over $1,750.00 per square foot, then they believe their project should come in at over $1,750.00 per square foot. Pre-approving and publishing how much you’re willing to spend – and then giving these contractors and their projects exemptions to public contract code likely means cost escalations to every project to meet the new high bar – because there is no recourse and the AOC is willing to spend that kind of money.

    Take a look at the current cost escalations and keep in mind that the only new major construction going on in the whole state is these overpriced courthouses. As a result, they should be coming in cheaper given the level of deflation in both labor and materials in this particular industry.

    Then, call for a moratorium on courthouse construction until proper laws are in place and proper bidding processes and cost estimates are done. The cat is out of the bag, the horse is out of the barn. According to existing law, it is okay to cheat the AOC and there is no recourse.

  122. JusticeCalifornia

    As with SCR 126, we need calm, organized, targeted, action. We need to pick our battles, one by one, and deal with them, to the extent each one of us feels comfortable doing so, in a calm, highly efficient, organized, concerted, targeted fashion.
    We need a point person or blog.
    Just my opinion.

  123. JusticeCalifornia

    The revolution should be peaceful, ethical, organized, based on truth. . . .and ultimately inexorable.

  124. JusticeCalifornia

    From Dictionary.com:
    in·ex·o·ra·ble   /ɪnˈɛksərəbəl/ Show Spelled[in-ek-ser-uh-buhl] Show IPA
    –adjective
    1. unyielding; unalterable: inexorable truth; inexorable justice.

  125. JusticeCalifornia

    And hey good judges, legislators, and law enforcement out there, we are counting on your participation.
    Court employees, litigants, attorneys, and advocates should not be forced to pull the weight on this. To the extent you are participating in the problem, or are silent, you are part of the problem, and accountable.

  126. Hmmm, is the former director of the Office of Court Construction or whatever it is called now residing Suite 100? Kim whatshername a blondie, a beoch, very disrespectful to CEO’s….was it Turner also? Left the job as director to marry a judge in central CA but still got paid the same directors pay for a lesser position in her same unit? I would imagine in her new position as judge’s wife and former director she would require such digs. would be interesting to know.

    • Courflea:
      The former director of the Office of Court Construction and Management/OCCM your refer to is not Kim Turner, but Kim Davis, who did leave the AOC to marry a judge in central CA/Fresno. And not just any judge, but a federal court judge.

  127. JusticeCalifornia

    Courtflea, do tell.
    I do not understand! Tell us.
    These interconnections ultimately tell the story.
    For example, I heard (total hearsay, someone correct me if I am wrong) that Marin Presiding Judge Boren has had a compromising “thing” with his court clerk. . . .thereby putting his formerly respected Marin judical a## over Kim Turner’s corrupt Judicial Council barrel.
    So do tell.

  128. JusticeCalifornia

    Over a barrel:

    Meaning

    Helpless, in someone’s power.

    Origin
    This is an American phrase and first appeared in the mid-20th century. It is supposed that it alludes to the actual situation of being draped over a barrel, either to empty the lungs of someone who has been close to drowning, or to give a flogging. Either way, the position of helplessness and in being under someone else’s control is what is being referred to.

  129. Wendy my D, thanks for the clairfication on the name. JC, Wendy D may know more about Kim Davis than I do. I was under the impression she married an appellate court jurist. And I had no idea that she left her AOC job. I mean hey, to go from a Director to a whatever in the division to make the same pay must have been pretty cushy.
    Kim Davis was brought on board to develop the office of court construction/facilities or whatever it is called. Was a former legislative staffer i believe and knew a lot of folks around at least the bay and north state for sure.During her tenure she bought into the theme that the AOC is the master and the trial courts are the minions. She gravely disrespected many CEOs and had absolutely no concept of what their roles are in the courts (typical AOC director or RAD if you ask me). Basically she did not give a s**t what CEOs or their Judges thought. JC, I have no secrets here, but Ms. Davis was a piece of work that I figured based my and others experience with her, that suite 100 would be right up her alley. Would be interesting to know what if any participation she had in this biz.

  130. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    As Promised:
    Larry Flores, Facilities Management Administrator serving the Inland Empire area courts for the Office of Court Construction & Management was the victim of a pretextual termination. The real reason Mr. Flores was terminated is that out of all Facilities Management Administrators across the state, Mr. Flores was the most vocal about Jacobs obscene overcharges and bid rigging.

    Regrettably, Mr. Flores’s manager was none other than Ken Kachold, one of the three unwise men and the contract manager of the Jacobs contract.
    According to the three unwise men, Jacobs can do no wrong and is the next messiah. While Mr. Flores persistently sought to do what is termed a “level 4 write-up” that would have resulted in the termination of the Jacobs contract, he was prohibited by his management from doing so.

    One of Mr. Flores first projects was to work with Michael Paul on the Larson Justice Center Building Management Systems Project where they both jointly discovered that the contractor, “Team Jacobs” had no contractors license and was grossly overcharging for its services by bid rigging every job, telling subcontractors to charge more so that they could earn higher management fees.

    Since taking over that one building, the AOC has spent 7.9 million dollars on it exclusively through Jacobs. This amount spent on just this on this one building represents 20% of the total of all monies that the AOC is filing suit for overall against both unlicensed contractors or 1/3 of all monies being sought from Jacobs. So if there is any doubt that the AG is filing suit for a small fraction of what the contractors were actually paid, Larson Justice Center is your proof. If you believe that the AOC spent the remaining 15 million dollars maintaining the other 2/3rds of the courts in the state, I have a big orange bridge for sale that goes between the San Francisco Presidio and the Marin Headlands. It’s on special today, only $650,000.

    We understand Mr. Flores remains in a state of shock over the pretextual termination but when you question anything Jacobs does or anything Jacobs charges, you become ‘uninvited’ to the SRO family.

    Regarding Kim Davis: We’re willing to grant Ms. Davis the benefit of doubt. Around the time the stench started rising from the Facilities Management Unit, Ms. Davis created herself a position as far away from SFO and Burbank as she could get and filled that position. Now if you were a director working for an organization like the AOC and you knew that your staff knowingly entered into some sham contracts on the advice of higher-ups and that you felt that this activity might be unlawful, yet you couldn’t do anything about it, you might want to suggest that you’ve fallen in love with a federal judge (offering you the glorious protection of the U.S. Marshal) and are moving as far away as possible to distance yourself from activity you could do nothing about.

    Mr. Kachold and Mr. Swickard run SRO suite 100. Ms. Davis had nothing to do with it.

  131. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    An interesting note – We don’t know what it means. Michael Paul’s attorneys filed a notice to court of prior/pending litigation. Would this be the intervenor in these matters? At about the same time, the AGS and Jacobs matters were blown back on the court calendar for almost a year when they were previously scheduled to be going to trial in January.

    Does this mean the red carpet is rolled out for Mr. Paul to make his case before the other matters go to trial?

  132. Thanks for the posts Obi. They’re all reasonably accurate and as you know, I have the same questions.

  133. For clarification, Kim Davis left her job at the AOC in San Francisco. It would not be at all surprising if she went to work for the AOC in/out of the SRO office, perhaps as one of the AOC’s proverbial “Special Consultants” and with a new last name/married name.

    Obi Wan – you may be willing to “grant Ms. Davis the benefit of doubt” but there are many who, put politely, would probably think that was overly generous, if not undeserved.

  134. She is a project manager out on the BF Sisk courthouse in Fresno, California for OCCM as “Kim Davis”. I was working with her on that project before I got the axe. Obi’s speculation I find both fascinating and plausible.

  135. In years past, I always viewed labor day weekend as the last summer opportunity to give myself a break from long days and longer hours manifested by the longer days of summer; A personal reward for my family and I to just get away from it all for 3 precious days before slogging into the short days of the winter season. A celebration of the tremedous sacrifices of workers before me that provide me the 40 hour work week, paid benefits and retirement plans and time off that I can enjoy.

    I have rarely ever been unemployed and certainly, I have never been unemployed for more than a month or two, yet a few days from now an ominus date will pass. A date that says to me that all my hard work and dedication to the judicial branch itself, my long hours, my statewide travel, my making myself available to my customers around the clock and on all days of the year, and all of the important work of the judicial branch stands for in my own eyes, integrity, equality, access and fairness, really didn’t matter, certainly doesn’t exist and surely was of no value to my employer who wrote these mantras.

    Indeed, this mantra that the people of the AOC were indoctrinated with in new employee orientation were merely words; something to make one feel good about their job as well as their mission of contributing towards the greater good of the branch and ultimately, the people of the state of California. To come to work for the AOC I took a substantial pay cut from being a hired gun for two reasons. 1) To provide a public service to the people of the state of California and 2) To earn a pension that would support me in my retirement.

    “Serving the courts for the benefit of all Californians”

    Two months ago, the very branch of government I looked up to over the years to deliver justice to the common man fired me because I asked a coworker to look into a particular matter just a little more than taking a contractors word for it.

    I sought to ensure that the people of the great state of California were getting the best value for their tax dollar and weren’t being cheated. I asked my coworker to look beyond the request to replace a subcontractor and consider other possibilities, possibilities that could well end up costing significantly more than what was being laid on the table before him.

    I sought to protect the judicial branch from litigation and a stop work order being slapped on a courthouse under a tight seasonal constuction timeline because I had received weeks before this incident some background information my coworker was not privy to. Nothing more, nothing less.

    To blow the whistle on something, it typically has to be an event that has already passed or is an impending event. My goal was to ensure that it never rose to the level of an impending event as at that time, the event was only being suggested, was not impending and had not yet come to fruition. It did not meet any litmus test for fraud, waste, abuse, corruption or a waste of taxpayer funds or gr0ss incompetence that defines a whistleblower complaint. It was merely a heads up.

    What was submitted to my coworker was a suggestion by his contractor to replace a subcontractor. What I submitted to my coworker was a suggestion to carefully look at the request because I was afraid that there was more to the contractors request than what was being disclosed.

    Little did I know that doing the right thing would be the pretext for my termination. A termination that would cost me a projected estimate of 2.9 million dollars in real wages over the next 20 years and cause my retirement benefits, medical and my pension to vaporize for no other reason than I cared enough to try to protect my coworker and the AOC from an embarrasing lawsuit and a crippling stop work order that I knew might likely result from listening to his contractors suggestion.

    Astonishingly, they listened to and heeded my advice and simultaneously fired me for that same advice, claiming I blew the whistle in an inappropriate direction, falsely claiming that I was insubordinate for failing to obey written orders that unquestionably violate Government Code 12653, when no such violation of those illegal instructions occurred.

    A month later, our legislature unanimously passed and our Governor signed retroactive whistleblower protections for AOC and court employees, yet because the law does not go into effect until January 1, my former employer has a number of months to clean house before this law goes into effect, where they will then likely argue against its retroactive provisions that include personal liability being bestowed on the perpitrators.

    There is a publication that is written by CFCC called “Voices from Within”, Experiences of California Court Employees with the foster care system.

    Here is the link. http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/cfcc/pdffiles/StoriesFromWithinBooklet.pdf

    Starting on page 7 of this booklet, you will find my own story and experiences with the foster care system. It is titled “Nobody Knows” and now, you all know.

    I don’t point this out for you to have any empathy for me. I point this out to underscore that overcoming incredible odds are something I’ve done my whole life and that recent events are no exception but merely a part of a process I’ve grown accoustomed to. On top of this, I am an INTJ personality type. INTJ’s and justice are inextricably intertwined. INTJ’s are said to be unyielding, unmerciful and pragmatic almost to a fault. “Does it work and will it work” is the principle litmus test of any INTJ. And finally, there exists a no bullshit zone around any INTJ. We see it, we call it, we say it like it is without any sugar coating.

    So this year, I see labor day not as a last reward of summer or a celebration of labor but as a reminder of the hard work ahead of me. The hard work to achieve the INTJ moral imperatives of justice and accountability. The hard work of re-planning my entire future from my “dream job” to something that I fully expect to be something substantially less. The hard work that is necessary to restore my faith and belief in a branch of government that has held so much value to me practially my whole life.

    Although I am agnostic, I cannot deny that I myself have prayers. Among those prayers are that those people who did not do the right thing pay a steep price. A prayer that somehow, I will be returned to my “dream job” in the same role and capacity that I previously enjoyed. A prayer that those who participated in this fraud, managed it and are diligently attempting to cover it up are no longer among the employed in the judicial branch a year from today. I’m agnostic because my prayers rarely, if ever have come true.

    However, I’ve discovered that my hard work and being an INTJ personality has always got me through the rough patches and made me a better person for it.

    On this day next year, I hope to have restored what the meaning of labor day was to me. A celebration of the perseverance of the common man to better himself and his situation in the ending days of the summer season though yet again, my own perseverance of being able to routinely overcome incredible odds.

    And in this, I know my former managers and supervisors who have relied on those traits in me to get the job done know in their minds and their hearts that in the past, nothing could keep me from achieving my stated goal and that recent matters will be no exception.

  136. For my friends and coworkers in OCCM:

    The difference between “Team Jacobs” existence or non-existence I estimate to be between 40 and 60 million dollars.

    Why do your supervisors and managers wish you to never mention the name “Team Jacobs” again if, for no other reason than protect “Team Jacobs” from the significant liability of having to come up with another 40 to 60 million dollars?

    Why does the management of OCCM, the directors of the AOC and the Judicial Council themselves wish to have the name “Team Jacobs” vanish off the face of the earth?

    Who are they protecting? WHY are they protecting them?

    With dozens of willing witnesses and hundreds of documents, business cards, proposals and even employees of the entities willing to step forward and declare their existence as “Team Jacobs” and make the unlicensed entity liable to the taxpayer for an additional sum of 40 to 60 million dollars for never having any contractors license, why would hundreds of people be encouraged to disclaim the existence of this entity?

    Who is on the take?

    A year ago when this whole process started, I had my people search the internet far and wide for the term “Team Jacobs” and they printed off hundreds of documents. Employees whose facebook profiles said they worked for “Team Jacobs” in an individual courthouse, to contract proposals to individual courts, to official department records for elevator responsibilities. All of this information was printed off. Over the past year, that information has been somewhat sanitized. Someone has hired an internet reputation doctor to wipe the trail clean, yet there are many elements, organizations and people that will not participate in this endeavor but it nonetheless happened.

    So I ask you, why was such a painstaking effort made to wipe this trail clean? Why does someone wish to file a suit for a fraction of what is owed under the law? Why was a void contract extended ?

    Some of you will experience natural attrition. Some will retire. Some will find other employment, move to other areas of the country to be with family or otherwise separate from AOC’s service. You people are the best people to explain that your managers and supervisors are the ones who told you never to mention “Team Jacobs” again. Just be sure that when you have the chance to do so without being retaliated against, that you contact either me or my attorneys so that the truth can be told.

    So that those that are participating and orchestrating this fraud are brought to justice. And so the California Courts have an additional 40 to 60 million dollars to keep the doors open, which is one of the reasons I stepped forward in the first place.

  137. Why isn’t someone, anyone, in law enforcement, the District Attorney, the California Department of Justice, the California Attorney General, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney General, the Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, anyone at all in a position of law enforcement or any other enforcing authority, doing something about this …?

    • The AG’s office is responsible for representing the state – not the taxpayers. That’s why the taxpayer lawsuits exist. That eliminates the CDOJ and AG’s office from investigating.

      Personally, all my law enforcement bet is on the U.S. Postal Inspetion Service because false claims invoices and false claims payments both constitute mail fraud. The other part of my law enforcement bet is vested with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney in Sacramento who seems particularly keen about going after and prosecuting state corruption.

  138. JusticeCalifornia

    Thoreau, in Civil Disobedience, noted Paley’s cost/benefit analysis: “the justice of every particular case of resistance is reduced to a computation of the quantity of the danger and grievance on the one side, and of the probability and expense of redressing it on the other”.

    But, Thoreau says, “Paley appears never to have contemplated those cases to which the rules of expediency does not apply, in which a people, as well as an individual, must do justice, cost what it may.”

    The public temperature has to become so hot that it becomes a terrific personal and professional liability to continue to associate with the (corrupt) old guard.

    An upcoming example: unless Judicial Councilmember Kim Turner voluntarily retires in the next week or so (on or about September 15, 2010), she will likely become Exhibit “A” of this principle. Her inexcusable actions (destroying incriminating Marin custody files while a legislative audit of the historically troubled Marin Family Court is ongoing) have endangered children, and insulted the integrity and authority of the legislature. All those who support her in the Marin Court, JC and AOC are going to necessarily and increasingly be tainted with the same spoliation/child endangerment brush. Having her corrupt butt sit on the Judicial Council, or on any type of accountability committee, or in any executive third branch position, is a slap in the face to the public, and every honest member of the judicial branch.

    Kimberly “Pariah” Turner, coming soon to a venue near you.

    P.S. In fairness, those who were not involved in the document destruction and have only read John Judnick’s report probably have no real idea of the true nature of what Turner, the AOC, and Marin Judge Verna Adams did. If the JC is interested, it can ask Judicial Councilmember/Assemblyman Feuer for a copy of the Request for Criminal Investigation dropped off with Drew Liebert about 10 days ago.

  139. Surely, Assemblyman Feuer and Drew Liebert will get right on making that criminal investigation happen. Right about the same time pigs fly, hell freezes over, and weapons of mass destruction are finally found in Iraq.

    • JusticeCalifornia

      I totally, 100% agree.

      But they had to get a copy so they couldn’t say they didn’t know. And while it is likely the LAST thing in the world they might want to do, some might say it would be irresponsible of Feuer not to promptly pass the information along to his fellow members of the JC and legislature.

      Anyone who gets that packet will be hard-pressed to defend what the AOC, Adams and Turner did.

      Let’s see.

      • My guess is they won’t defend it, instead they’ll all just ignore it, pretend it’s not true, tell themselves it’s not their problem or that it’s someone else’s responsibility, or, if nothing else, just trot out the “co-equal branch of govenment, separation of powers, nothing we can do” excuse.

        And as for it being “irresponsible” of Feuer not to promptly pass the information along to the JC and the legislature, given that Peuer never even bothered to attend the meetings of the JC it’s doubtful he cares one bit about being irresponsible. But then neither apparently does the JC, or the legislature, especially Mr. Steinberg.

        Out with the old, in with the same old, same old.

  140. JusticeCalifornia

    And M.P., speaking of battle and prayers. . .

    We all know the story of David and Goliath. Many have likened the current struggle to clean up the corruption in the judiciary to that ancient fight.

    The story is that David picked up five stones for his sling, although he only needed one. We have at least five—unlicensed contractors, CCMS, grossly inflated construction and maintenance costs, whistleblower retaliation, and destruction of incriminating child custody (and probably other) files during a legislative audit. (And no offense ACJ, but Richard Fine’s disbarment and incarceration aren’t pretty either. )

    David is credited with writing some amazing prayers for justice, victory, help and protection, which can be found in the Book of Psalms. Some are quite magnificent. . . . .

    I personally welcome prayers for justice, victory, help and protection from any and all inclined to offer them. We need all the help we can get to make sure at least one of our stones hits the mark and blows CA third branch corruption wide open, and to keep us all on our feet while the battle rages.

  141. I aim to see that both actions (the pending litigation against the AOC and their unlicensed contractors and the impending litigation against the AOC and the 4 people who sat in that room and illegally fired me) make it through the gauntlet of motions and make it to trial.

    That will represent this david’s two rocks. Let us hope they fly true and hit the mark.

  142. JusticeCalifornia

    I am working on the document destruction and family court issues–let’s hope the ACJ is covering CCMS and those amazingly expensive new courthouses, and courthouse maintenance.

    So I anticipate a bit of imminent (baby-step) protest activity this month, in Marin and SF, related to the Family Court issues.

    One advocacy group is going to Washington D.C. in early October (their second major protest — the first drew scores of protesters from around the country), and that group has suggested that it is inclined to send a couple of volunteers and a banner or two about family court issues to grace the steps of 455 the latter part of this month. If they do so, I anticipate that they will be joined by a couple of document destruction protesters with a relevant banner. The timing coincides with the very unofficial invitation (via blog only)/9-15-10 deadline given to Judicial Councilmember/Marin Court Executive Officer Kim Turner and Marin Superior Court Judge Verna Adams to resign, for destroying important and incriminating child custody records while a legislative audit of the Marin Family Court is ongoing.

    Come September 15, the education process regarding the Marin document destruction will be substantially expedited and expanded, as will the call for the immediate resignation/termination and criminal investigation of all those who knew and/or were involved.

    Soon thereafter, there will be a movement for the recall and impeachment of Judge Adams ( and perhaps others). Does anyone know when the last legislative impeachment proceedings regarding CA bench officers were initiated?

    The interesting thing about this document destruction debacle is that it is very simple. The packet provided to JC /legislative member Feuer and others — and official court records– make it clear that those involved were not “making space”, but rather were purposefully and knowingly destroying documents that could harm them, while an official investigation into their wrongdoing was pending.

    So all JC members– including our current and future chief justices– and untold numbers of the AOC–and Marin public officials/bench officers– and all members of the legislature (especially including Steinberg, Corbett and Feuer) are either going to have to support and defend that nasty Turner/Adams document destruction, or not.

    Period.

  143. To my friends at the AOC:

    Since I am recognized as a control systems professional, I invite my opinion to be printed off and given to Echelon Corp or Schneider Electric and ask them if this is the reason for the problem. The reason I am typing this here is to save you from your buddies over at Jacobs coming up with a space shuttle solution to a car out-of-gas problem.

    Larson Justice Center’s BMS system has been down for awhile now because the brilliant people over at Jacobs are asking a second firm to come in and look at the (programming) code. Furthermore, they want to put UPS’s on every controller. Both really bad ideas and I’ll follow that up with an explanation.

    I think my credibility on AOC projects is beyond reproach, so let me tell you ALL what the problem at Larson Justice Center is, how to fix it, how much it will cost to fix it.

    The problem is the power source to all of the controllers. The power source to all the controllers, which was existing wiring because that is what the bid documents said to use, has been and always was mis-wired in such a fashion that the input voltage does not drop to zero volts when there is a loss of power to the building. If it did drop to zero volts when there was a loss of power to the building. then the controllers would come up working without having their brains scrambled and having to re-program every controller in the system, which has now happened NINE TIMES. Each time this has happened, you send Jacobs people scrambling at an approximate cost to the taxpayers of 20 grand. They, who know nothing about building automation, tell you that if you only had individual UPS’s on the controllers this wouldn’t happen . They try to blame any source other than their own lack of competence on these systems for the (alleged) nearly 200 grand spent on reprogramming the controllers and the broiling building temperatures. (Larson is out in Indio, in the desert east of palm springs)

    Tech discussion:

    The controllers have a rated input voltage. Controllers will operate at the rated input voltage of + or – 10% and they will work at zero volts. Even a momentary loss of power to the building causes the controller voltage to slowly decrease until such time it comes to rest at zero volts. The problem with that is there is a whole lot of dangerous voltages between the rated voltage and zero volts. Voltages that can cause damage to and scramble the controllers which is when you “lose the building” temperature-wise.

    All of the input power wiring to the controllers needs to find another source that drops to zero volts when a loss of commercial power to the building is detected. With that complete loss of power the FPGA chips on the controller circuit boards retain their memory and programming and resume analysis and control of the entire system when the electricity comes back on. This, my friends is not only the poor man’s way of fixing this problem, it is the right way to fix this problem.

    Placing UPS’s on the controllers will result in the building systems partially believing they are up and operational while no power to the main systems is triggering off an avalanche of alarms that may crash the host system. The controllers will continue their analysis and adjustments to systems that just aren’t operational. So the goal here is to have all the systems go down together and then have all the systems come up together when the power kicks in. Anything less and its a 20 grand service work order to reprogram the controllers and anywhere from 2-10 days of a building cooking in the california desert the end result.

    I have a quote to permanently fix what is happening at Larson Justice Center. The vendor guarantees they can get the system up and operational and keep it up and operational for six months. They are willing to accept a Purchase Order from the AOC for a flat 30 grand for the job with the caveat that if the controllers need to be programmed again due to a building power failure, you don’t have to pay them at all. But after 6 mos of controlling the building, if the controllers don’t need to be reprogrammed. you pay them.

    P.S. They are an Indio local, licensed contractor.

    I’m also typing this for the poor court employees in Indio California as well that bare the brunt of this two years of incompetence in case you wish to fire the AOC from BMS control for six months to get this competence issue behind you. If you wish to discuss my solution, I may be reached at 510-684-8706. Please, don’t take my word for it though. Print this post off, bring it to the attention of Echelon and Schneider Electric and ask them if this could be your problem.

    I mean, I’ve been right about damn near everything else, right?

  144. I should add that this is a package deal that’s being offered. IE Rewire the controllers/Control the building management system for 6 mos. With that being said, the AOC could likely re-wire the controllers for less than 10 grand.

    A whole lot cheaper than the space shuttle solution you’re contemplating right now, isn’t it Ken?

  145. I am easily amused by my new found freedom of speech and my ability to present a public solution without getting some scathing email back about my questioning the competence of the incompetent.

  146. JusticeCalifornia

    I know absolutely nothing about the technicalities, but if what you say is true, there is nothing like very publicly documenting and reporting, and offering a solution, just in case the AOC is tempted to write a big check to an apparently controversial entity embroiled in litigation to fix a “fix” by that controversial entity that appears to have already failed miserably 9 times– at great taxpayer cost and court discomfort.

    Did I understand that right?

  147. I’m a solutions oriented guy. I don’t necessarily come to others with issues unless I also have a resolution. I’ve mentioned the controller input voltage a few times before to my friends in OCCM, got a few engineers, senior engineers and operations people to agree with me, watched the building controllers be reprogrammed by the programmer to restore the building to its operational state only to watch another power failure come along and wipe out the controllers a few months later.

    You understood my goal of very publicly documenting , reporting and offering a solution correctly.

    • Michael Paul,

      Who is the bigger fool, the fool, or the fool who follows him?

      • Dredd –
        A fool is a fool. Period. And some would sadly say that the Judiciary has become a ship of fools. Although, I hope not…

      • Only a fool would extend a contract that under the law is void. (two hundred attorneys at the AOC and nobody clued anyone into this?)
        Only a fool would accept extending a void contract as a viable solution to the problematic unlicensed contractor issue. I don’t view myself as a leader and I am looking for no followers. Only for good and honest people to do the right thing. I gather that’s too much to ask in your opinion?

        Sorry, after observing no one willing to do anything about the unlicensed contractor issue, I did not wish to be the fool and play along. (Although, by your previous statements, I should have been satisfied with having a good job as if I was being paid to look the other way…..)

        I’m sure that you represent AOC management in some capacity. Others aren’t willing to look the other way, nor are they willing to risk their jobs by coming forward and pointing out the discrepanies that amount to multiple violations of state and federal law.

        I’m also reasonably certain that judicial branch officials statewide are asking themselves about all of these discrepancies and not coming up with cohesive answers that pass the smell test. Some will blindly support the AOC and I personally believe that most will not support the AOC in the group of decisons surrounding the unlicensed contractor debacle.

        When I worked at the AOC, not a single soul – not one soul – believed that the AOC was doing the right thing and nearly universally believe that there is some form of payola happening to influence decisions regarding these events.

        I fly lots. Two of the items I fly (trikes and hanggliders) use something called a “Jesus Bolt”, the one bolt that prevents the aircraft (or the person flying it) from falling out of the air.

        On January 1, at least one of those jesus bolts will be missing. The other jesus bolt is holding on with a thread and a prayer and lots of calls for that jesus bolt to remove himself or be removed.

        Events such as these series of poor decisions made by the management of the AOC that led to me filing a taxpayer lawsuit do not happen in a vacuum. Important people are in charge of decisions and nothing happens unless they themselves decide that they will happen. In these matters, someone decided to protect Jacobs and AGS by deciding to sue them for only a fraction of what they were paid, by a combination of press reports disclosing the amount being sought and the evidence the AOC presented to the committee on accountability and administrative review.

        I don’t know what made them decide to sue for this small fraction of payments made and I likely wouldn’t have questioned it, except for one event – extending the contract that is void by an operation of law in such a manner that the unlicensed contractors stood to make up for all of their ill-gotten gains that stood to be lost by the underlying lawsuit and the ancedotal evidence that told me that AOC management was conspiring with the unlicensed vendors to protect them.

        When I informed Peter Krause that he was dealing with an unlicensed vendor whose name had magically disappeared as if they never existed, he amended his lawsuit to include business practices and names that were not known to him, without spelling out TEAM JACOBS, even though all the evidence I provided to him suggested that TEAM JACOBS was, in fact, the DBA that the company was operating under.

        The difference is the difference between nearly nothing being returned to the taxpayers vs. tens of millions of dollars being returned to the taxpayers.

        I trust that my attorneys who are aces in discovery and have held feet of large pharmaceutical companies worth hundreds of billions of dollars to the fire will eventually expose this cover-up for what it is and people who have thus far avoided accountability will be held accountable.

        A fool is one who believes otherwise.

      • Michael said about me: “I’m sure that you represent AOC management in some capacity. ”

        So sure, are you? I think you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

      • Dredd, I’m purely speculating on whom you might likely represent, given my recent experiences, current circumstances , your previous statements and what you expouse in your posts. We’re still waiting for those cohesive explanations for this apparent impropriety dredd.

  148. JusticeCalifornia

    Gosh, I cannot post the link to yesterday’s Marin IJ article about the very problematic pension computer software.

    Look it up, and read the comments. Sounds familiar.

  149. Advocates for Marin Court reform will soon be on the line.

    All interested, and possible, should support them.

    • JusticeCalifornia

      Sorry that may have seemed cryptic.
      The very end of this month, certain reform advocates will be moving forward with peaceful “public education efforts”. The location of the first such effort will be the Marin courthouse. (Although, as previously mentioned, a couple of people may be in SF earlier.)
      While the focus will be on Verna Adams and Kim Turner, we will make sure everyone knows the AOC and Judicial Council (via Kim Turner’s continuing membership) are involved in the document destruction debacle involving the safety of children.
      Yesterday we were thinking about signs, slogans, etc..
      “Judicial Councilmember Shreds Child Custody Files”
      “AOC colludes in Child Custody Document Dump”
      If anyone has any creative suggestions, feel free to share.

  150. I have concerns that the educational process must cast a broader net…I don’t know what the “average Marin County resident’s” awareness of who / what the AOC and Judicial Council might be—-There is a great need to make this process understandable and relevant to all—

    I like all your proposed, articulate signage—but may I suggest that there are a number that are very clear and direct—-such as “Judges must follow the law NOT break the law”—-“Marin Judges Break Laws”—–“Marin Courts are Criminal”—

    Many will understand references to AOC and Judicial Council—but I am struck with a thought that this may be lost, or seem lofty to a population that must be engaged—and educated to the extent that they will clamor for the opportunity to vote criminals out of office(?)

  151. How would one ask how much has been spent on Jacobs and AGS since the inception of the contracts? While it may seem an easy enough question, the folks over at Pubinfo@jud.ca.gov don’t seem to be able to understand the question and need more clarification.

    • JusticeCalifornia

      Well this is a tricky question. And with the AOC, every possibility has to be covered, or the AOC will slip through any and all available cracks.
      For example:
      Are you asking for information about
      a) EVERYTHING of any value whatsoever
      b) transferred (or promised in any manner to be transferred)
      c) to Jacobs, and/or AGS, and/or any person or entity affiliated in any manner with Jacobs and/or AGS, and/or to any person or entity on behalf of , or for, or in lieu of, or for the benefit of, Jacobs and/or AGS
      d) at any time since the inception of the contracts?

      (all properly asked without incurring objections about vague and compound questions, etc.)

      Judge Dredd, you are a lawyer, how would you pose the questions? And BTW, did I imagine it, or did you write on this blog about somehow suffering some terrible personal tragedy? I seem to remember one post that was filled with immense palpable sorrow and perhaps even anger. Maybe I am wrong. . .and it was someone else. But I think it was you. If it was, what happened?

  152. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    ….in other news, AGS has chosen to settle the FMLA complaint against them where they fired a husband and his pregnant wife, both whom worked for them, when she went on maternity leave. This leaves a pending department of labor complaint for a failure to pay overtime to all AGS workers. What was that you said about them paying prevailing wages Mr. Willoughby? Prevailing wages include overtime, something that AGS only sporadically pays.

  153. Hey AOC Watcher! where are you? Are you still with the living? We miss you and your keeping us informed. Please come back.
    Welcome back Judge Dredd (who ever you are 🙂

  154. I find it ironic that while I am still trying to recover taxpayer funds that the AOC goes out and gets themselves a “real MoFo” lawyer. Not one of their own, not the AG’s office but one of America’s best/most expensive law firms and one of their best and brightest attorneys. Welcome aboard Mr. Gonzales. I hope I don’t end up paying your bill by some strange twist of fate and that your invoices are being paid by the unlicensed contractors, whose contracts appear to indemnify the AOC.

  155. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    “Take this job and shove it! I ain’t a workin’ here no more”

    I suppose at one (or more) times in our lives we all wish we could go out in such grand style having that song blasting on the boom box while we resigned from a shitty job.

    Just like Thomas Mistron did yesterday.

    Who is Thomas Mistron?

    Thomas Mistron is the Responsible Managing Entity (RME) for Aleut Facilities Maintenance, Inc. – the one individual who holds the contractors license on behalf of Aleut.

    Hint: AOC – You are back to having an unlicensed contractor working for you again.

  156. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    By the way, since this AGS thing all happened yesterday it will take the contractors state licensing board a few days to update the system but they are legally suspended as of yesterday when Thomas disassociated himself from them.

    • As usual, the State Licensing Board will get right on that. Again, right about the same time pigs fly, weapons of mass destruction are finally found in Iraq, and fairy tales start coming true. The law obviously doesn’t apply to the AOC. If it did, they wouldn’t continue to violate the law, or be allowed to continue to to violate the law, or someone in some position of enforcement or authority would have already stepped forward at this point, intervened, and stopped the AOC from breaking the law.

      And as pretty much anyone and everyone in any position of authority or enforcement in Sacramento, if not the entire state, knows about this at this point, as well as all the other unlawful conduct going on at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, and has decided not to do anything about it, it not one single thing, should be clear that no one in any such position of authority or enforcement is going to do any such thing. So, obviously, the law doesn’t apply to the AOC or the California Judicial Branch. It might apply to everyone else, but, ironically, the law doesn’t apply to the California Judicial Branch or the Administrative Office of the Courts.

      Disgusting, but true.

  157. Wendy Darling,
    I feel confident that the president of AGS will find another contractors license his company can ride on because there is no construction out there right now and lots of unemployed contractors.

    As to AOC management getting away with anything, I’ve witnessed one of the boldest, most thorough efforts I’ve ever witnessed to erase the identity of a company. I guess tens of millions of dollars can get things like that done. I’m impressed. I was really impressed when Jacobs Engineering Group filed a demurrer disclaiming their participation in the joint venture “Team Jacobs” and claiming that they were not acting as an agent of a governmental entity and therefore should be dismissed from the litigation.

  158. All of which the public, namely the taxpayers, are going to paying for through the nose, just as they have been paying, currently are paying, and will be continue to pay for through the nose for, quite some time into the future, at least the next several years if not longer. Along with all the other litigation the judicial branch and the AOC is using public money, taxpayer dollars, to pay for.

    Public money, tax dollars, that could be going towards something actually valuable like funding the trial courts, or going to public education, instead is being used for the California Judicial Branch to defend their right to use unlicensed contractors.

    Wasn’t there a prior posting here about the judical branch and the AOC “defending the indefensible”?

    The California Judicial Branch and the Administrative Office of the Courts going to court on the assertion that a law that apparently applies to every other branch of public government in this country simply doesn’t apply to them. Who could have ever guessed?

  159. The AOC is acting like the proverbial 800 lb gorilla and Team Jacobs is the proverbial elephant in the room. I consider the monies spent on unlicensed contractors temporary loans. The money the AOC expends on attorneys to defend the taxpayer lawsuit is unlicensed contractor money being advanced by the AOC to defend not only themeselves but their “Agents” as well. Ultimately, its my hope that the California taxpayer is not on the hook for one thin dime when and if I prevail and that those monies expended are recovered from the unlicensed contractors under contractual indemnification provisions. When and if that (estimated) 100 million dollars is recovered on behalf of the California taxpayers and the trial courts its my hope that no one objects too much to compensating me for wrongful termination under Government Code 12653 as I never expected to recover anything in a false claims action against the unlicensed contractors even if the AOC gave me a qui tam release because I am (was) a government employee and protecting taxpayer funds is my responsibility, not something I should be rewarded for.

  160. Let me clarify that last run-on sentence: I never expected to PERSONALLY recover anything in a qui tam action because I am (was) a government employee. I did expect to recover two to three times the amount paid them and ensure that my legal fees are paid by the unlicensed contractors.

  161. JusticeCalifornia

    I have had such interesting conversations recently, some about the AOC.

    My dad used to quote whoever-it-was:

    “you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.

    RRB and their followers have apparently been creating and telling tall tales for a while. One of them is that they are all-powerful, and invincible, and they can do WHATEVER they want to, because EVERYONE is in the judicial pocket.

    But really, let’s remember the “great and powerful Oz”, who created a façade of a ferocious wizard, when really it all came down to a little man behind the curtain, exposed by a little dog. It was all fake, smoke and mirrors, tricks. The joke was on everyone who believed.

    And let’s remember that the judicial branch’s little man behind the curtain (not nearly so kind to those pulling back the curtain as the little man in the movie), is pretty much gone. Although he publicly continues to pretend, in private he is undoubtedly sitting nervously on the edge of his seat, biting his nails, watching his faxes, reading his mail, having clandestine meetings and phone calls, and waiting for the inevitable various shoes to drop from the sky, as the final chapters in his not quite so illustrious saga are written.

    The people who fervently did the bidding of the little man behind the big curtain must also be waiting for their shoes to drop. They no longer have the excuse that nasty things they did and are still doing HAD to be done to “protect the chief”. They can no longer assure increasingly nervous minions that the little man behind the curtain is the great and powerful oz who can and will protect them from the consequences of their crimes. Heck, the little man behind the curtain only garnered two Assembly votes to change the name of that big, historic building, because the public mobilized to make itself heard. Yes, the times, they are a changing.

    And there are so many, many shoes. . . .

    Man the lifeboats, the RRB Titanic is ultimately going down. History tells us this is what happens to oppressive tyrants who believe they are above the law, and can threaten and terrorize and rob the public at will.

    I know Wendy, you will say nothing is changing. Indeed, the Marin Court and the AOC appear to be acting as brazenly and viciously as they ever did, like nothing anyone does can stop them. The key word here is “act”. Tyrants never go quietly, they try to uphold their façade and brutalize people into submission, right to the bitter, desperate end.