We wish you were here

Posted on July 4, 2012


Every day, concerned citizens such as yourselves reach out and tells someone about Judicial Council Watcher and we pick up another reader.

About once per week, one of those thousands of daily readers ventures out on out information superhighway as a new poster to JCW. The people that post on JCW venture from citizens concerned about our court system, to lawyers whose survival is reliant upon the court system, to employees of the superior courts as well as the appellate courts and administrative office of the courts, to judges of this states superior courts and justices of the courts of appeal both active and retired; to legislative aides that work in the state assembly and finally to the journalists of other news organizations. We have a very diverse group that not only reads but participates here as JCW.

All we’re missing is you dear reader. We wish you were here participating in JCW. 

You’re one of the thousands of people that reads Judicial Council Watcher every day but does not post. Some have ventured a post just to explain that the things we’re telling you is more accurate than information you’re getting from the AOC. Some post just to say they don’t post because other writers do such a good job. It might be apparent to a few regular readers that a whole lot more people that are reading (and not posting) are also availing themselves of the post rating buttons – a more subtle way of participation but valued participation nonetheless.

We would also like to remind you of our private, encrypted, untraceable message window called secure forms ( https://forms.hush.com/judicialcouncilwatcher ) where all information is optional and you can contact the customer delight team that moderates JCW, the journalists that work with us and as others will attest, we even deliver messages thru the private message window to our posters, provided we have their real email address on file. We also encourage you to use the private message window to avail us of the facts in the event we get our facts wrong. 

In less than two years you have moved a mountain. Celebrate yourselves as true patriots on this day.

In less than two years of JCW’s operations you dear readers have moved mountains. You’ve begun to turn the tide on boondoggles and outright fraud, waste and abuse by the AOC and Judicial Council. You’ve handcuffed them from wasting the very funds that keep you employed and keep the courts open to the public. We’re not downplaying the significant, devastating cuts to the court system that will cost more jobs or the increases in fees that will put justice out of reach for a few hundred thousand more people each year to the advantage of corporations and the elite 1%  that can simply win their cases by outspending their opponents. We find many of these increases both disturbing and necessary but it does not mean they’re the right thing to do. Our courts must find a reliable funding source for both our operations and programs that are not reliant upon convictions – like vehicle licensing fees.

Our work is far from complete.

According to our sponsors, the only way this site will go offline is when a democratically elected judicial council takes office and takes some decisive steps at reparations and restoring branch credibility. Employees have been unjustly fired. Lawyers have been unjustly disbarred. Judges who have spoken out against the death star have had their careers unjustly curtailed by either an out of control CJP or the insiders who have run this branch for the past 15 or so years. We must reform this bully organization. We must take a look at the recent past and the lives ruined and try to make things right, simply because its the right thing to do. We never said doing the right thing was easy and it won’t be easy. But if this branch is to ever regain credibility, being honest and doing the right thing, no matter how difficult or embarrassing it might be is essential to justice itself, if not the branch itself.

AOC management must go: AOC employees must learn to do more with less.

Here’s a shocker: I bet you would be floored to learn that the largest sponsors of AOC reforms here at Judicial Council Watcher are…….

AOC employees – past and present.

That’s right. No one provides more aid, technical assistance, information and financial underwriting of Judicial Council Watcher more than past and current AOC employees do. No one. They are not against the AOC. They are for the trial courts and against the mismanagement and patronage they witnessed for years that continues to this day. While hardly any of them actually post here at JCW, we get plenty of daily communications from quite a few past and current AOC employees.   They too wish their organization would do the right thing. Their morale is crushed not by what the trial courts think of them – but the way employees who have legitimate concerns are and have been treated. They want an independent Inspector General for the Judicial Branch and they want the confidential fraud, waste and abuse coordinator fired. They want to see managers held accountable for their deciet and mismanagement but most of all, they wish to truly serve the courts for the benefit of all Californians.

Trial court employees, appellate court employees and AOC employees are all crying foul over Justice Miller’s public comment period because they can’t afford to comment and lose their jobs when their names are posted on the internet.

To permit you to comment, we’ve worked out an arrangement with Michael Paul to incorporate trial court, appellate court and AOC employee comments into his own comments for submission. Please use our private message window with a subject line of “SEC COMMENTS FOR MICHAEL PAUL” and we’ll forward them out right away  – but don’t wait as he wishes to submit around the 15th of July.


Comments recieved to be forwarded on-

From: An employee of the appellate court

Subject: SEC survey response

I’ve worked in the appellate courts for more than a dozen years. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the gentleman that is delivering this message. For as long as I can recall, Mr. Paul successfully worked to re-establish lost trust between our appellate court and the AOC. Mr. Paul’s first job at the AOC was no pressure. No pressure at all! For three days none of the appellate courts, the supreme court or the AOC had email.  He was called in to fix our email system and he did. Mr. Paul was communicative, informative and genuinely concerned about the way our system was previously deployed by the AOC. Prior to CCMS, email was our largest internal boondoggle because it was unreliable. Mr. Paul changed that. (As an aside: They can’t run an email system and you want to trust them to run ccms?)

On one weekend way back in 2003, he redesigned and redeployed the entire email system for all of the appellate courts, all of the aoc and the supreme court. After that redeployment, we never had another email issue. His team later traveled to our court and upgraded our ccmail system to Microsoft Exchange. From my point of view, Mr. Paul was one of the most honest,  loyal and conscientious employees in the AOC IT department. That trust that he worked to re-establish left when he did but this reply is not about Michael. This reply is in response to the SEC survey.

For many years before Michael arrived at the AOC, our court was in a pitched battle with the AOC IT department because they ran our systems and they ran our systems poorly. Sometimes, they didn’t run at all. This was a constant source of angst for our court management because our court was reliant on an entity that could care less about us. Control was the name of the game and no one wanted to make waves in San Francisco over their failed IT policies that crippled our court.  Most of our court, myself included has read the SEC report. Implementing the recommendations outlined in that report is an essential first step to the Judicial Council and the AOCs lost credibility.

From: A Del Norte county court employee

Thank you judicial council watcher and Michael Paul for giving us a vehicle where we can comment without fear of reprisal. Please implement the findings of the SEC report without delay or modification. Thank You.

From: An AOC employee

Subject: SEC Report

I’m just throwing my comment out there to demonstrate that you’re all biased at JCW. I’m sure you’ll ensure this never gets posted in Michael Paul’s letter to the judicial council.

The SEC report touched on quite a few serious problems. However, the judges composing the SEC report don’t work with us on a daily basis. They have a view from 100,000 feet of the AOC’s operations. How they could ever come to a subjective conclusion that the AOC is overstaffed is irresponsible. We too have house payments to make and kids to feed. We do a great deal of thankless work for the courts. We’re not control freaks like you make us out to be. That’s just ridiculous and so is judicial council watcher.

From: A small northern California court

Subject: SEC comments for Michael Paul

Kindly implement all findings of the Strategic Evaluation Committee before the end of the calendar year. Thank You.

From: A San Joaquin County court employee

Subject: SEC comments for Michael Paul

After reading the replies of judges on the California courts website, I wish to adopt and endorse the comments of Judges Maino, Horan, Oki, Lewis and Dukes. The time for surveys and comments is over. The new CJ is losing support for her lack of leadership. She needs to implement the SEC recommendations and stop passing the buck.

From: donotreply@forms.hush.com (please contact us back and tell us where you are from in general terms)


Dear Chief Justice and Judicial Council,

I’ve been a judicial branch employee for over 20 years. I’m not the type to make waves or get involved in high stakes politics that might cost me my job. Unfortunately it appears if my coworkers and I wish to keep our jobs and serve the public, then the people at the AOC who don’t serve the public need to be losing theirs, starting with Mr. Todd Torr and the every boss above him that authorized this arrangement. My comments are being delivered by Michael Paul through the judicial council watcher site because you gave me no other choice if I wish to keep my job.  I wish to personally thank you for that bit of thoughtfulness; someone else must deliver that personal message of thanks for me as well. The real reason the SEC report is out for public comment is so that you can encourage others to derail the report while court and AOC employees are silenced. You’re not fooling anyone.

From: An AOC employee

Subject: SEC Comments

I work for the AOC and agree with the findings of the SEC report. I’ve never worked any place that had so many obscenely paid managers that know little to nothing about the field of expertise they work in.