September 9 Judicial Council Muppet Show

Posted on September 9, 2011

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The Archive of the JC meeting audio can be found here.  The agenda can be found here.

Public speakers:

Edwin Lee – Mayor of San Francisco recommends passing the AOC assistance agreement of August 31 for San Francisco to reduce layoffs from 40% to 15%.

Christopher Kearney – Treasurer – Bar Association of San Francisco – Please pass the 2.5 million in emergency assistance funding for San Francisco Superior Courts. Please do not impose other burdens or conditions on these funds that would make them moot.

Christopher Dolan – Board Member Consumer Attorneys of California speaking on his own behalf. Commends Judge Feinstein and the AOC.  Hopes that funding is passed in accordance with option one.

Three SEIU representatives speaking on behalf of San Francisco courts opposing layoffs and supporting the 2.5 million in emergency assistance funding. Tim Laberini – a clerk of the San Francisco courts discusses the high stacks of papers and boxes, discusses that this cut will eliminate his own job.

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Written Comments: Arnold Medneck’s comments are online

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E&P Chair – Special session scheduled today’s meeting to address San Francisco’s emergency request (Did San Joaquin submit a request for emergency funding? How about other courts?)

It appears Mr. Overholt and E&P sandbagged San Francisco with additional onerous conditions (Seven additional requirements included with option 1) Mr. Yuen wishes time to review but is inclined to decline if the seven additional requirements (all new, all post agreement) exist.

Mr. Miller (E&P) is upset that Michael Yuen pointed out the sandbagging, indicating it wasn’t a sandbagging of additional requirements but ‘just discussion points – just options.’ Mr. Miller is offended, yet it was AOC who left Mr. Yuen with the understanding that these additional options were requirements.

Coverage was cut short due to technology challenges.

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Better coverage on this story from Courthouse News

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Statement released by the Alliance of California Judges this afternoon:

“The Alliance of California Judges supports Presiding Judge Feinstein and her court in rejecting terms that were proposed to the Judicial Council as conditions for providing emergency funding to the San Francisco Superior Court. These conditions would have been an improper usurpation of the independent constitutional authority of a local trial court and presiding judge. This problem demonstrates why the current funding mechanisms for our trial courts are a failure, and why the Alliance has urged fundamental reform.  This agreement would not have been necessary in the first place if the Judicial Council had provided the additional $82.0 million of emergency relief still legally available under the Budget Act, as urged by the Alliance, which would have provided relief to all courts, not just San Francisco.

This also illustrates why the trial courts need to be guaranteed the funding allocated to them by the Legislature without reserve. Many more courts will soon face the same circumstances faced by San Francisco. The Alliance supports funding relief for all trial courts, and we urge the Judicial Council at its October meeting to revisit the issue of providing the full relief authorized by the Legislature for this year.”