Welcome to the Judicial Council Watcher’s
Judicial Branch Hall of Fame
How did your name get here?
You promoted transparency or accountability or made an extraordinary effort to save the branch money.
This section is dedicated to AOC and Court employees who sacrificed their careers to highlight issues of wrongdoing.
Former AOC Employee Merilee Fielding – reported embezzlement / Was fired for it.
Former AOC Employee Jack Uruquart – leaked information about an expensive shindig to the press – an expensive shindig paid for by you and I to discuss the states’ financial challenges and how they will cope.
Retired AOC MEP Engineer Dennis Leung – Promoted the concept that the judicial branch should only take on building technology it can afford to support. Attempted to get a grip on and by extension, place cost controls on automated building management systems being inherited from the counties and move them to a lower cost non-proprietary model. Promoted the use or Recovery Act funds to fund most of it. Had he executed on his plan, the judicial branch would have had the most energy efficient real estate inventory in the State of California.
Former Contra Costa County Facilities Director Jon Wintermeyer – Saved the AOC over a million dollars on a variety of projects. Mr Wintermeyer worked with Mr. Paul on the East Contra Costa County Courthouse. Shortly after Mr. Paul went public, Mr. Wintermeyer’s boss, Kiri Torre (see digital purgatory) placed Mr. Wintermeyer, who was complaining of many of the same issues Mr. Paul brought up on administrative leave pending an inconclusive investigation. Comparing notes months later it became apparent to both gentlemen that Mr. Wintermeyer was let go so that he wouldn’t be comparing notes with Mr. Paul, who already went public.
Former AOC employee Paula Negley – Tried to challenge men in her office being paid more than women in her office doing the same job. She also blew the whistle on an HR embezzlement. She was fired for turning over evidence in discovery that was left in her office and that could have only been produced by one of her bosses. While her case was improperly dismissed by a federal judge admirer of our former chief justice, Paula is appealing her case.
Former AOC employee Uzoma Okoro – Refused to steal from one court project to pay for court maintenance on another project. Exposed the use of bundling projects together to hide true costs while charging those bundled projects to unrelated facilities modifications or individually appropriated courthouse construction projects.
Honorable Mention- Dana Terrell a retiree of the Contra Costa County Courts. She wrote a scathing open letter published here that blasts the wrongful terminations made in the Contra Costa County Courts.
This section is dedicated to those in the legal profession who take on the system, win or lose
Dr. Richard I Fine – Challenged a judge overseeing his case because the judge had accepted payments from one of the parties involved. Mr. Fine became the first political prisoner of California’s judiciary and it is our aim to ensure he is the last.
Please note: This entry is being disputed and I welcome the education I hope will accompany the dispute. If you believe Mr. Fine should not be here, lay it out in a fashion that a reporter can even understand.
Dr. Emad Tadros took on the diploma mill credentials exhibited by a Dr. Stephen Doyne in court. Unfortunately, the system had placed so much reliance on Mr. Doyne’s credentials and held him out in such high esteem for years that they couldn’t bring themselves to acknowledge there was a problem and dismissed Tadros’s suit..
This section is dedicated to legislators who have had enough and have taken decisive action to reign in the AOC and the judicial council
Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal – Ordered an audit of CCMS. Created legislation to grant AOC and Court Employees whistleblower protections. Continues her work on AOC transparency and accountability. Called for the termination of William Vickrey over gross mismanagement of the AOC and in particular, the California Case Management System.
Assemblymember Audra Strickland Co-sponsored legislation to grant AOC and Court Employees whistleblower protections.
Assemblymember Jeff Gorell Sponsored legislation to subject AOC’s construction funds to the public contract code. Later, the AOC lobbyed him to withdraw his legislation.
Assemblymember Charles Calderon, Sponsored the Trial Court Rights Act of 2011 in an effort to bring some effective governance that is sorely lacking at the state level back down to the trial courts where it belongs.
Assemblymember Ricardo Lara – Called for the termination of William Vickrey over gross mismanagement of the AOC and in particular, the California Case Management System.
Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher – Promises the AOC will be getting extra attention from the committee on accountability and administrative review this year. Does not buy the bill of goods the AOC is pedaling.
Assemblymember Luis Alejo – for urging his fellow lawmakers to pull the plug on CCMS funding
Legislative Aide Mark Martin of the Assembly Committee on Accountability & Administrative Review for his work with the committee.
Legislative Director Samuel Chung for his invaluable contributions in subjecting court facilities funds to the public contract code.
This section is dedicated to judges and justices who have taken decisive action to reign in the AOC and the Judicial Council
Judge Dan Goldstein – Continuing to highlight issues with construction costs and CCMS
Judge Tony Maino – Continuing to highlight issues with construction costs and CCMS. Questioning the 250+K Shapiro administration of justice fund. Questioning the efficacy of the CCMS boondoggle.
Judge Charles Horan – Continuing to question the AOC and judicial council about all of its activities, including court construction costs, a lack of AOC oversight, CCMS, serious issues with branch governance, the use of unlicensed contractors, the unethical use of “pravda” the internal AOC ministry of disinformation and promoting the Calderon trial court bill of rights.
Judge Steve White – Continuing to highlight the issues facing CCMS as well as highlighting ongoing (insane) maintenance expenditures and branch governance issues.
Judge Maryanne Gilliard – Continuing to question the AOC and judicial council about all of its activities, including court construction costs, a lack of AOC oversight, CCMS, serious issues with branch governance, the use of unlicensed contractors, the unethical use of “pravda” the internal AOC ministry of disinformation and promoting the trial court bill of rights.
Judge Tia Fisher – Continuing to highlight both the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding the CCMS program
Judge David Lampe – Continuing to push forth a trial court bill of rights and reigning in the wayward AOC.
Judge Stephen Czulegar – Calling for a change of leadership in the AOC after warning them for many, many years about issues with CCMS.
Judge Kevin McCormick – Highlighting CCMS’s space shuttle costs / criticizing the well to do employees of the AOC for using government funds to buy iPads they don’t need.
Judge David Wesley & Judge Burt Pines – The only two judicial council members who would vote to preserve access to justice and keep the courts open in the July 22nd 2011 Judicial Council meeting.
Judge Katherine Feinstein – For addressing the Judicial Council and calling for an end to CCMS and the diversion of construction funds to support court operations. Saying it like it is gets high marks at JCW so calling out CCMS as a boondoggle and a fiasco hit the mark
Judge John Kennelly - For putting tiny Sierra County on the map with this factual statement “ I have really been struggling with signing off on this letter. Basically, I am struggling with our continued arrogance and demands when we should be apologizing and taking responsibility for the situation we have created, just like the lecture we give criminal defendants who appear in front of us.” More of this letter can be found in the following post.
These distinguished jurists came forward in public comment and urged the implementation of all of the recommendations of the Strategic Evaluation Committee. Each of their names is a link to their public comment regarding the Strategic Evaluation Committee Report, hosted on and courtesy of the Administrative office of the Courts in case the links or page should change.
Hon. Michael B. Lewis, Superior Court of Kern County ( a must read)
Other meaningful contributors
BSA’s Elaine Howle – Did a wonderful job on the CCMS audit and refused to sugar coat.
Karen Covel, a partner with Lauer Georgatos & Covel, for keeping the new math wizards in the AOC’s finance department honest in a series of stories done for Courthouse news.
“J. Doe” of the Orange County Superior Court for their anonymous and frank asssessment of the Court Case Management System program with respect to their comments to the Bureau of State Audits.
Reporters, Commentary, News Coverage and Blogs
Maria Dinzeo (Reporter) and Bill Girdner (Editor) of Courthouse News for their coverage of the AOC and Judicial Council
ABC News, Channel 7 San Francisco & Reporter Vic Lee for continuing coverage of the AOC and Judicial Council
ABC News & News 10 San Diego for continuing coverage of the AOC and Judicial Council
San Diego Union-Tribune for continuing coverage of the AOC and Judicial Council
Reporter Amy Yarborough for her early coverage of the AOC and Judicial Council. While we would wish to give credit to her rag, they re-assigned Amy off of covering the AOC and Judicial Council. We think that was a bad move on their part.
Columnist Lois Henry of the Bakersfield Californian has brought amazing clarity to many of the issues facing the judiciary.
Terry Francke & Calaware for following up on the Saldivar investigation (Court uses double standard to protect its own)
Calitics – The progressive blog for California politics for assisting us in spreading the word
Cal_Politics & Martell Thornton – Owner, ThorntonStrong Communications for spreading the word.
There are more coming and nominations are welcome.