25 days – From the CAOC and S.F. City Attorney Dennis Herrera

Posted on August 22, 2011

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Good Morning California,

Last week the Consumer Attorneys of California and City Attorney Dennis Herrera wrote a few letters. In Herrera’s letter he expressed that he was working with the Bar Association of San Francisco sharing his concerns about court budget issues with the legislature and the administrative office of the courts. He also shares the concerns held by his office because most of the City Attorney’s activity is of a civil nature. Shutting down the civil division puts the city itself at risk.

“By the time cases are finally heard, evidence will be stale, witnesses may have died or disappeared, and plaintiffs themselves may have expired”

The CAOC sent a letter to Mark Leno. Mark Leno is significant because he is a politician that has met with all parties and knows all of the issues, including all of those issues mentioned here at JCW.  In that letter, the CAOC joins the city attorney in suggesting that a commitment to spend the reserves be made as part of an overall legislative solution. Both letters were sent to the San Francisco courts.

“We encourage court administrators to embrace this fiscal reality that reserves must be rationally utilized or there can be no hope of achieving approval for fee increases or other budgetary solutions in the Legislature.”

What is interesting to note is that all parties have some familiarity with the issues brought up by the Alliance of California Judges and we’ve made it a point to let them know about the issues related to the Judicial Council and the AOC, yet  the attorneys won’t publicly acknowledge them.  All eyes are turning to the state legislature to craft solutions, seemingly inviting the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent.

Our suggestions remain:

1. Kill the fall bond sale for courthouses. Use the money for court construction to support the trial courts for a few years while court construction is moved over to DGS.

2. Terminate the CCMS program / turn the code over to those that want it.

3. Downsize the AOC.

4. Democratize the Judicial Council

5. Pass AB1208 to protect trial court funding.