14 days – 102 jobs saved – 1000+ to go

Posted on September 2, 2011


Good Morning California,

A couple of days ago, the AOC sweetened their offer by 500K to keep about 11 additional courtrooms open, shuttering 14 courtrooms in San Francisco. Based on the limited commentary by Judge Feinstein in accepting the sweetened offer, she had to be convinced that there was a legislative solution on the horizon to stable trial court funding. We’re convinced that stable trial court funding does not start with the Judicial Council or the AOC, who would simply spend additional monies on pet projects before passing the trial courts what is left over afterwards.



We sought other commentary and opinions on the matter since the San Francisco courts limited their commentary on accepting the offer and we received this commentary from the Alliance of California Judges

The Alliance of California Judges is pleased that a temporary solution has been worked out to support a greater level of service to the public by the San Francisco Superior Court for this fiscal year.  We agree with Judge Feinstein that the inadequate funding of our trial courts requires a wholesale review of the statutory framework.  As one component of this solution, the Alliance has proposed guaranteed baseline funding of the trial courts, which is the essence of AB 1208, authored by Majority Leader Charles Calderon.  The Alliance will continue to participate in working toward fundamental legislative reform in the next session of the Legislature.

Numerous courthouses being built by and for our judicial council members have 14 or less courtrooms and they costs tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars. All of this amounts to money that can be temporarily diverted to keep trial court workers serving the public. While there may not be any staff to open them, while the counties have declared they cannot afford to staff additional courthouses, while the courts themselves downsize, there is a real question as to why we need to build courthouses, all planned in plentiful economic times, while we close perfectly good courtrooms and perfectly good courthouses statewide.

We also question the need to establish any additional judges positions without first replacing the group of an estimated 122 retired judges that already have courtrooms and serve in perpetuity, like 18 year appointee to the Shasta bench, Jack Halpin. We believe that all new judgeships should backfill for the elite 122 that serve in perpetuity on long term appointments. There also needs to be legislation that prohibits in perpetuity appointments such as this. Assigning those judgeships to those positions would save over ten million dollars a year from the AOC’s assigned judges program. Most other states have gutted their assigned judges programs in order to save money. We’ve also discussed in previous posts the fallacy that is a “completed” CCMS program while tens of millions of dollars continue to get pumped into development.

We’ve been saying it for quite awhile – enough of centralized mismanagement.  Court construction projects and new judgeships need to be the purview of the state legislature. The fallacy that is CCMS needs to be brought to an end by the legislature. California’s judicial branch needs to be re-grounded and redirected into doing judge stuff. The RICO that is the AOC needs to be dismantled and straddled with additional checks and balances.


You might have also noticed a new feature in the navigation pane. After a few days of adjustments, it seems that Automattic’s developers added the number of subscribers who follow JCW via email, having every post e-mailed to them.

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We might add that the 33 email followers are those who don’t usually post here at JCW. They include a broad cross-section of California government as well as California’s Judicial Branch.