Welcome to the California Judicial Branch
You’ve probably seen the title above somewhere before. There should be a caveat sentence below this that indicates “Except if you are an employee of the AOC” In the below link you will be able to read Paula Negley’s opening brief. In our opinion, this brief isn’t as much about whether the case itself has merit (that’s certainly what Ms. Negley argues and we agree that it does have merit…) but whether the institution of the Judicial Council and the AOC have any credibility as defenders of justice. The JC and the AOC rely on getting accusations tossed out of the courts that they are a bit too cozy with rather than face those accusations on their merit in open court, in front of jurors.
In Paula Negley’s case, the AOC was making consistent overtures to settle the matter but only of Ms. Negley would entertain a non-disclosure agreement. No NDA, no settlement. The JC/AOC’s ultimate saving grace in this matter was that a friend of our former chief justice, one Marilyn Hall Patel (now retired) was sitting at the bench in the federal matter. Somehow, we believe she should have been recused in this matter as friends of respondents don’t make the best impartial judges.
As you read the appellants opening brief and the shocking behavior of the AOC, you will see why the legislature took some action to protect court employees, going so far as making that protection retroactive.
A Link to the actual oral argument. (Requires Windows Media Player)