31 Days – Chief Justice shows some leadership and opens public comment!

Posted on August 16, 2011

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It’s a baby step but it is a baby step in a positive direction. Released just this afternoon- The link has a video. http://courts.ca.gov/15171.htm

Isn’t it time? It must be time….


Court of Appeal Justice Douglas Miller, newly-appointed chair of the council’s Executive and Planning Committee, today announced that the Chief Justice requested that the council take a “fresh and thorough look at every aspect of how the council operates and governs.” As a result, several new procedures have been established.

“Beginning August 26, 2011, the council’s business meetings will now start with an expanded public comment period,” Justice Miller stated.

“In addition, anyone wishing to comment on a matter related to judicial administration can speak directly to the council and comments will be welcome at the time the specific agenda item is presented.” In the past, public comments were made only at the beginning of council meetings and limited to items for council decision on that agenda.

Another important change is that the Judicial Council’s educational meetings, also known as “issues” meetings, will now be open to the public as a way of improving communication between the courts and the public. The Judicial Council’s next issues meeting on Thursday, August 25, 2011, will feature presiding judges and court executives discussing how to manage courts in times of declining resources.

On behalf of all citizens, we wish to thank the Chief Justice for taking this significant step towards public participation and eliminating the rarefied air.

Score one for transparency!

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Note: After the revelations of the continued requirements to submit comments in writing for pre-approval prior to the meetings, we’ve come to the conclusion that the issue of expanded public comment is not all it is chalked up to be. It appears to be a minor change that still involves prior restraint.  Members of the public attending judicial council meetings should have the freedom to address or challenge not only the issues but council members views on these issues, which may only be revealed to the public during the course of a judicial council meeting.