21 Days – August 26th, 2011 Judicial Council Muppet Show

Posted on August 26, 2011


Good morning California,

The live link to the meeting can be found here.

Welcome to JCW’s partial coverage of the August 26th, 2011 Judicial Council Muppet Show where conflicted loyal appointees of King George and Queen Mini-Mimi once again outnumber free thinkers and feign governance yet again.

In reviewing the agenda items, one of the items that caught our attention was a document called Court Facilities: Modifications Budget & Prioritized List 2011. This document prioritizes all facilities modifications. At the end of this document is a very revealing list of over-estimating that should be downloaded and analyzed by every concerned court.

Take a look at attachment C, which represents court modifications that are prioritized level 2 through level 6 based on urgency very closely as they pertain to your court. Then go assign a technically savvy person in your court to get three bids on this same work as estimated and proposed by OCCM’s previously unlicensed contractors. We’re confident that you will be able to save millions on these quoted costs and further underscore the waste in the facilities maintenance and modifications program. If you recall, this program is exempt from public contract code so they only have to get one estimate. Usually these estimates are commissioned as paid studies from their service providers. The estimates you can likely develop will be free if you have the technical capability to develop an accurate scope of work. If a study exists, you can ask OCCM for it and use that as a scope of work to go get estimates.


Two very moving statements by two clerks.

Mr. Stewart was the first clerk.

The second clerk, Mr. Laberini is very emotional. Anyone listening must also be moved. We were.

Judge Kevin McCormick – a director of the ACJ – reconsider your decision. Offset the cuts to the courts. He is speaking to the issue of not yet having the list of those who earn at the AOC. He’s a strong public speaker, which is beneficial to the ACJ and to underscore his point. We feel confident that he will not see this list for a few months based on another question asked of E&P. That question sought to identify the consultants and contractors being paid by the AOC and the chair of E&P indicated that he queried the AOC and was expecting answers in October, notably the next council meeting.

The third was an attorney. We didn’t get the name but another reader believes it was Christopher Dolan, praising the JC and the AOC.

Of interest, there was an open mic about 5 minutes before the meeting that one of our savvy readers caught.

About 5 minutes before kickoff, the automated voice was saying “The meeting will start shortly, etc”

An open mic broke in and it was Tani. She said, as near as I could type it was:

“Chris Dolan –has–does he know about the offer to Feinstein?” then the automated voice resumed for a few minutes before the meeting started.

The Chief Justice then reports on her activity and Kann’s and Vickrey’s retirement.

Unbelievably, she is presenting Vickrey with a leadership award named after him and naming a conference center after him.

She is now listing all of his awards. One wonders if anyone will ever list his indictments…


The long winded, monotone Vickrey thank you. You have a copy of his written report.

Ron Overholt discusses a mitigation plan of limited assistance for San Joaquin and San Francisco, discussing his conversations with Yuen and Feinstein to possibly avoid layoffs this year.


skipping various committee reports- we get to CCMS.

Judge Herman & Justice Bruniers speak about the testers and thanking them and speaking to deloitte.

Justice Bruniers declares “with one small exception, we are there”

He discusses the external deliverables as 121 data exchanges and represents that the 800 or so coding errors that existed in December that there are now zero-zero-thirteen defects. With exception to JBSIS reports as a major defect, which will be separated from the rest of the project and fixed, everything else works. He discusses that this product has been certified and tested by all CCMS courts. He discusses that the system has been stress tested as well “under real world conditions”.

How can we know it successfully completed testing when others are whispering to us it remains defective?

Mark Moore: thirteen level 3 defects. Level 3: a defect that that has a work-around. There are zero level one defects, zero level two defects, thirteen level three defects.

CCMS was known as one year pause..no longer known as that. Going to the legislators in Sept to ask for budget for it. What? You don’t have the numbers together yet? Something about $74M before adjustments. Have been giving presentations of it throughout the state. We would not be were we are today without the efforts of Mark Moore and his staff.

Judge Pines knows how to net it out, “The issues for me are if we can afford it and what our priorities are.”

There has been a few good arguments regarding a 300.00 fee for complex case management fee, including Judge Kramer.

Then the lizard speaks…. She starts off correcting everyone in a manner that only she believes. Her argument about not imposing the fee appears to be weak from our point of view. Her argument is pedantic and resistant to any suggestion of uniform implementation of any additional complex litigation fee.

There seems to be a question if it is a fee that requires a 2/3rds vote of the legislature, which wouldn’t be happening anytime soon. There seems to be some question of legal authority. We think the lizard’s approach was both pedantic and alienating, whereas other concerned parties were more diplomatic about touching on the legislative concerns.

This legislative session closes on September 9th?

Judge Pines suggests that the Judicial Council has a workable arrangement to keep San Francisco operational for the next year that is awaiting to be addressed by the San Francisco court.

Judicial Council members keep on touching on the “we’re all in this together, it’s not us against the trial courts”  yet there remains a gulf of available overall funds that are not being used to mitigate the challenges.


The next subject, agenda item six concerns adopting public contract code as california judicial branch contract law manual.


Page six of this document is a problem. The AOC intends to adopt local contract law manuals in addition to branchwide ones. Of concern would be that the AOC considers facilities maintenence and modifications as a local manual maintained locally. This is yet more of the fox guarding the hen house. We would argue that local entities are also given some discretion for similar activity and thus should be adopted branchwide so that the AOC isn’t working with one questionable rule book while everyone else has a viable rule book.

Mary Roberts wants to rush adoption of a Judicial Branch manual into place by October to avoid state contracting being imposed upon them. Simple is not better.

We suggest that no reason exists to rush these manuals into adoption without being complete, subject to public comment and subject to public review.   

We would also point out that unlike public contract code, there is no violation or penalties for violating any section of this manual.

Due to previous commitments we ended our coverage at the lunch break but feel free to add to the discussion.