Apr 21, 2016

Who is to blame for overburdened trial courts and not enough judges? Governor Jerry Brown or the Judicial Branch? Will Humboldt qualify for latest proposal for overburdened trial courts and judgeships

Will Humboldt benefit? I will update this post with comments from Humboldt County Superior CEO Kim Bartleson.

http://newsroom.courts.ca.gov/news/futures-commission-proposes-solution-for-reallocating-vacant-judgeships

Judicial Branch News Release:


The Commission on the Future of California's Courts has sent an interim report to Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye proposing a method to reallocate vacant judgeships to courts with the greatest workload needs.

A 2014 judicial needs study evaluated the impact of growth and shifts in population on local courts' ability to adjudicate civil, criminal, juvenile, and family law cases. The study found that California needs nearly 270 new judgeships to adequately operate the courts and serve the public. It also found that shifts in population have left some courts disproportionately affected.
The Futures Commission proposal suggests that legislation could partially address the problem. When a current judicial position becomes open, it could be reallocated to another court, if the need is greater there. The proposal would not change the Legislature's authority to create and fund judgeships or the Governor's authority to appoint judges.



According to an article in the San Francisco Daily Journal, last week, after months of prolonged negotiations with the governor's office, the State Judicial Branch introduced a proposal that would authorize overburdened trial courts to obtain reassigned judgeships from other counties.

The Commission on the Future of California's State Court System, chaired by Supreme Court Justice Carol A. Corrigan (pictured above) has recommended that vacant judicial positions be reallocated to jurisdictions with the most pressing caseloads.

According to the San Francisco Daily Journal article, Gov. Brown had suggested this when he vetoed legislation last October that would have provided $5 million to fund new judgeships.

A report by Kathleen O'Leary, a Commission member and justice on the 4th District Court of Appeal claimed "an uneven statewide distribution of judgeships."

The report states: "For example, the trial courts in Riverside and San Bernardino have only 60 percent of the judicial officers they need, but the trail courts in Alameda and Santa Clara have more judges than necessary to handle their assessed needs, 14 and 19 more judicial officers, respectively."

The article claims that Riverside and San Bernardino counties are among the favored jurisdictions  to get reassigned vacant superior court judgeships, staff and related security.

Last week, the State Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1023. The legislation is considered almost identical to the bill Gov. Brown vetoed last October. It would provide $5 million in general fund for 12 new judicial positions and related support staff.

Maybe Gov. Brown should approve these funds or at least stop releasing criminals into society without a plan, resources and funds to protect the public.


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