Category Archives: Judicial Wars

Naming Justice George’s Successor

By now everyone has heard the news that King Chief Justice Ronald George will be retiring January. Now the guessing game of whom the Governator will appoint has begun. So far the one name that keeps coming up is that of Justice Carol Corrigan who was appointed to the state supreme court by the Governator himself.

Here’s a rundown of the process for appointing George’s sucessor courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Naming a successor

The process of appointing Chief Justice Ronald George’s successor:

Candidate chosen: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger must choose a candidate by Sept. 15, after a confidential review by the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation.

Confirmation: The candidate will seek confirmation from the Commission on Judicial Appointments, consisting of George, Attorney General Jerry Brown and appeals court Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of Los Angeles, the state’s senior presiding appellate jurist.

Election: If confirmed, the candidate will go on the Nov. 2 ballot for a 12-year term beginning in January, when George’s term expires.

Justice promoted: If Schwarzenegger chooses a current justice to be chief justice, he would nominate that justice’s successor, who would go through the same confirmation process.


Judicial Wars: Sacramento Superior Goes Unplugged

Seems Sacramento Superior Court is not messing around when it comes to the issue of the continued use of the AOC’s troubled CCMS software program. In this morning’s Daily Journal report Cheryl Miller details the argument that’s broken out between the AOC and Sacramento Superior.

The argument all comes down to this. Whether individual courts have the right to determine what’s right for their own courts.

From the Daily Journal article:

At a public event last month , Sacramento court leaders announced that they would disconnect their hardware from CCMS’ Arizona-based vendor server so they could coordinate fixes to the system locally. Courts in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange counties already house their own servers.

After the announcement, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the Courts said that while the branch preferred that all courts use the central server, Sacramento could choose to leave. But in a May 11 letter (.pdf) to White, executive and planning committee Chairman Richard Huffman, a justice on the Fourth District Court of Appeal, ordered the court not to spend any money on new computer equipment or staff for the system move. He also directed the AOC to work with the court on its concerns and report back to the Judicial Council.

“The council should have the opportunity to consider and respond to the court’s concerns before the Court takes action to effect any transfer,” Huffman wrote.

Huffman cited Rule of Court 10.11(a) in issuing the committee’s “direction.”

White said he and other Sacramento judges “do not agree that there is any rule of court that stands for that proposition.” State law is clear that local judges run local courts, he said.

“We don’t have an objection to CCMS,” White said. “What we want … is to simply be treated the same way as San Diego and Orange County and Los Angeles already have been, which is to host their own database,” he said. “I do not intend to have us singled out by the AOC.”

Judicial Wars: Judicial Council to LA Superior Court…You Ain’t Gettin’ A Dime

It seems the Judicial Council is DETERMINED to protect all of the monies for it’s pet court construction fund even if it means telling the largest court system in the country to go ahead an lay off even more court employees. An article in yesterday’s Daily Journal detailed what happened when the JC took up the proposal by LA Superior to release funds from the court construction in order to help LA Superior prevent more layoffs. And as can be expected, a majority of the council members voted to deny LA’s request basically sealing the fate of hundreds of LA Superior employees unless the Legislature steps in.

In heated discussions prior to the 15-to-2 vote, three Los Angeles judges who sit on the council took issue with a report by the Administrative Office of the Courts finding the Los Angeles court had overestimated the number of employees it needed to lay off to deal with its budget shortfall.

Council member Lee Smalley Edmon said her court’s projections, which include the need to let 500 employees go in the next fiscal year, were correct and “based on our actual experience.” She objected to “unnecessary second guessing.” “I don’t think it’s helpful to the cause of the judicial branch,” Edmon said. “The AOC isn’t in the trenches every day.”

And the AOC’s response to LA’s budget projections? Thou doth protest too much basically.

Stephen Nash, finance director for the AOC, told council members he believes the Los Angeles court underestimated the savings it could achieve through attrition and the layoffs it has already implemented.

According to Nash’s calculations, the court should have enough reserves at the end of fiscal 2012-13, and should not have to resort to a second wave of planned layoffs of 500 employees. Nash said that using the construction funding for operations could “imperil the timing and success” of many of the courthouse projects and that court officials are working hard to find other solutions. “We believe the creativity needs to continue,” he said.

Instead of dipping into the court construction fund, the AOC will now work to ask the Legislature to cough up more funds to cover the deficits faced by the courts.

I’m sorry, but when it comes to who do I believe in terms of budget numbers, and if I’m going to have to choose between people who work in the court and know what they’re dealing with and a group of administrators, some of whom have NO idea of the day-to-day operations of running a court, I’m going to choose the former.

Judicial Wars: Justice George Creates AOC Oversight Committee…The Good and the Bad News

I’m a bit behind the curve on this bit of news thanks to life, or the facsimile of one that I live, making me busier than bees in a hive.  But I did want to post a couple thoughts on the news that broke late last week about Justice George announcing that he would appoint an oversight committee to oversee the AOC.  The article in the Recorder said it was a “nod to critics.”  And although the beginning of the article started out fine and dandy in announcing the creation of the committee, it was only until you kept reading that you realized that this “nod” wasn’t much more than a flip of the middle finger as far as I’m concerned.

Why do I feel that way? Because according to the Recorder article the committee will be comprised of a:

…10-member advisory panel [that] would include the vice chairs of three Judicial Council operating committees; the chair and vice chair of the council’s Presiding Judges Committee; one administrative presiding judge from the courts of appeal; one trial court executive officer; one appellate court administrative officer; one member of the State Bar; and a representative of the CJA.

And who gets to select all the members of this newly formed committee? That’s right. King Justice George himself.  This just shows that George and his cronies on the Judicial Council and their lackeys in the AOC have absolutely no qualms in stating that they DO NOT want any form of democracy to creep into how they conduct their business.  George doesn’t want some judge who, God forbid, has an independent mind and thinks for him or herself.  So he’s going to stack this committee with yes people that will do whatever he and the JC bid them to do.  For King Justice George to argue otherwise is simply comical.

But really folks.  Nothing that King Justice George and his royal court do nowadays surprises me anymore.  And if I’m not surprised, dear reader, you shouldn’t be either.

Los Angeles Lays Off Hundreds of Court Employees

For almost a year now Judge McCoy of Los Angeles Superior Court has been stating that if things didn’t improve financially for his court he would have no choice but to lay off hundreds of court staff and close courts.  He’s also been one of the more vocal proponents of having court construction funds redirected back to county courts to help them with their budget deficits and to prevent mass layoffs.

Now we find out today from the Daily Journal that Judge McCoy has done what he has said he’d have no choice but to do if things didn’t improve.

The Los Angeles Superior Court plans to issue pink slips to 329 employees today, amid a dispute with the state agency that oversees the courts, which maintains the layoffs are “unnecessary.”

The bulk of the layoffs will affect clerical assistants and court services assistants, according to a court spokesman. Among the possible cuts is the call center at Metropolitan Courthouse, which processes traffic tickets and handles up to 2,000 calls a day. Notified employees will be placed on administrative leave and paid until the end of March, but will not be reporting to their posts after today.

Court officials are also expected to announce the closure of more than 12 courtrooms throughout the county. They declined to provide further detail of which ones are facing closure until the announcement is made.

The cuts loom as the top official at the Administrative Office of the Courts, which has authority over the state’s trial courts, publicly questioned whether Presiding Judge Charles “Tim” McCoy’s decision to lay off employees was necessary.

The AOC and Justice George have, according to the article, taken Judge McCoy’s threats of layoffs and closing courts as a “Chicken Little approach.”  Well, if they thought this was Judge McCoy playing a game of chicken, he’s definitely called their bluff.

You can read more coverage on the layoffs by clicking the links below.

L.A. Superior court cuts 329 employees – SF Examiner

First wave of layoffs claims 50 employees from courthouses –

Local courts lay off more than 300 workers – Press Telegram

Los Angeles Superior Court announces layoffs and courtroom closures – 89.3 KPCC

L.A. Trial Courts Undergoing Mass Layoff – Courthouse News Service

Judicial Wars: State Judges Spar Over Court Spending

Screen capture of news report on the battle between the Alliance of California Judges and the AOC and Judicial Council

Closing courts once a month might save money, but an alliance of more than 200 rebellious California judges said it is really costing citizens justice.

Click here to view video.

Judicial Wars: Justice George’s Demeanor Towards Critics Nothing New

It’s been interesting for me as I read the comments posted here on the blog and the emails that have been sent to me by people expressing their outrage, dismay, disappointment, and or shock at King Justice George’s speech before the legislature last week in which he attempted to label the over 200 judges in the Alliance of California Judges as a reactionary group of “strident and uninformed voices.” A quote from his speech to the Legislature last Tuesday.

The judiciary is not represented by the few strident and uninformed voices that occasionally emerge as e-mail strings on the fringe of the judiciary. Their efforts reflect nothing less than a thinly disguised agenda to dismantle the statewide administration of justice that all three branches of government have developed over the past several years.

And although recent articles that have focused on the lobbying efforts by King Justice George and his AOC and JC minions to scuttle an audit of the CCMS program may indicate that this is new territory for the King Justice, I need only refer you back to 2006 when King Justice George gave a speech before the California Judges Association when he told the assembled judges that he would not brook any attempt by judges to undermine his appointment power.

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