Could it happen here?

Posted on April 24, 2011


As a nation watched the incidents in the kids for cash scandal unfold in Pennsylvania with great interest, a recent op-ed over at CalBar written by Janice M. Brickley, a consulting legal adviser to Commissioners over at the California Commission of Judicial Performance opines in a recent article that such a thing could never happen here in California.

She cites the CJP’s diligence in resolving nearly a thousand complaints a year in secret deliberations to which we say, bring your waders.

Those who avail themselves of the CJP complaint system claim it is ineffectual and acts on a precious few complaints. Those on the bench claim the CJP complaint system can be petty. From a position of analysis outside of the system we agree with both parties. It is both ineffectual and petty. Cases that should result in severe discipline, such as removing someone from the bench just don’t happen. The public views the CJP as an exoneration committee. Judges view it as a petty political animal that seemingly focuses on the small stuff while oftentimes missing the big stuff. Janice Brickley gets paid a good amount of money as a consultant to maintain the appearance that the commission is effectual as a legal advisor.

We strongly disagree and point to the several hundred million dollar software program that does not work being foisted upon us, the $2,500.00 lightbulbs and the Saldivar matter as proof positive that the systems set up by the judiciary to protect the public are broken and ineffectual.

All of these public protection systems must be reworked to be able to regain the public trust. They should probably all be placed under the same umbrella. Who is responsible for the unlicensed contractor debacle? A judge, a justice or an AOC employee? Where does one file a complaint? Who conducts the investigation to determine where the source of the problem came from and then prosecutes it?

How does one address this in the build-a-grievance thread?