E&P: Send the study out to ADOC & RUPRO to study the study

Posted on August 28, 2012

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You read that correctly. The executive & planning committee will implement only a few items denoted by the Strategic Evaluation Committee. Their cover language expresses serious reform.

Report2JC SECRecs.Final no mark

The fine print spells out business as usual for at least another year when the new administrative director of the courts (ADOC) & RUPRO (a mighty fine list of the usual suspects that opposed change in the first place) will report back to E&P on their own study of the study and how to implement the obvious.

For those of you who have not figured it out, this is all an exercise in buying time and crossing their fingers that the statute of limitations on certain offenses runs their course and that all of you will lose your resolve through at least two more rounds of further budget cuts that will be directed at the JC and the AOC, yet be felt most significantly at the trial court level.

Some of you will be the lucky recipients of marble-clad mausoleums to the California justice system courtesy of the Office of Court Construction & Management.

You got a freaking courthouse. You want employees to staff them? You’re joking, right?

Meanwhile, the “old” state court system that consists of the AOC money men and the Supreme and all Appellate courts will take these cuts in stride without any significant shake-up for at least another year. Meanwhile, we’re projecting staggering losses to our justice system in the thousands of jobs and hundreds of courtrooms.

But don’t you fret none. Some day, when the good times return, they’ll actually be able to staff all of those new courthouses when they sell off all the ones they forced to close. Of course, that will be ample reason to expand the construction program to replace all the courthouses they sold off.

And what pray tell was the foundation for this decision? Mostly the AOC’s Office of General Counsel telling E&P how they were going to handle matters but here is what they say they based their decisions on. Our rebuttal is in red.

  • Support for the SEC Recommendations: A great number of the comments express support, without elaboration, for the report’s recommendations and their immediate implementation. Mr. Miller:You previously hinted that you wouldn’t be giving these people, who by a clear and overwhelming majority did not elaborate much consideration. You verbally keyed in to your comments to reporters that you would be considering only deliberative, thoughtful comments. You set the stage for this comment and alienated about a quarter of this states judges by rejecting the will of the governed. You don’t belong in the office you hold.
  • Implementation: A number of commentators—although supporting the report’s observations and criticisms—express concern with implementing some recommendations without further analysis. Emphasis is given to the definition of “core” or “essential” functions versus “discretionary” and “non-essential” functions. Some commentators hold the opinion that a cost-benefit analysis would not necessarily yield the information necessary to make a policy decision that is in the best interest of the judicial branch and the public. Mr. Miller: this was the very product you and others sought to place emphasis on by enlisting the state bar and coming up with a state bar /AOC template response that echoed this theme. Nearly word for word in most cases, but you believe that when someone hands you their opinion, that is a deliberative process. We outed that effort and you act like you never planned or participated in this charade? I think you belong in digital purgatory. 
  • Culture: Several commentators specifically state that they perceive the AOC as “controlling,” “dictating,” and “out of touch.” Many note that there exists a lack of trust between judges, the Judicial Council, and the AOC. Uh-huh, and…?
  • Access: Several organizations, including legal aid and bar associations, as well as minority judges associations, recommend that the Judicial Council continue efforts to increase diversity in the judicial branch in order to gain the trust and support of the public. Many comments observe that improving the public’s access to the courts is a core function of the AOC. This, they contend, encompasses the AOC’s work on self-help centers, language access, diversity on the bench, and collaborative courts. Mr. Miller: this was the very product you and others sought to place emphasis on by enlisting the state bar and coming up with a state bar /AOC template response that echoed this theme. Nearly word for word in most cases, but you believe that when someone hands you their opinion, that is a deliberative process. We outed that effort and you act like you never planned or participated in this charade? You belong in digital purgatory. 
  • Smaller courts: Some commentators express concern that some of the recommendations, if implemented without further study, would negatively impact smaller courts and the services they would be able to provide. Mr. Miller: This is (again) an opinion you gave to them. Some would not play along and yet even when we outed you and others for this effort you still want to play this game of three card monte with the SEC report? You belong in Digital Purgatory.
  • Appellate courts: The Administrative Presiding Justices of the Courts of Appeal and the California Appellate Court Clerk/Administrators commented on the significant administrative support provided to the appellate courts by the AOC and that further AOC staff reductions related to the operations of the courts of review could potentially compromise essential services and severely implicate the delivery of justice. Mr. Miller: This is (again) an opinion you gave to them. Some would not play along and yet even when we outed you and others for this effort you still want to play this game of three card monte with the SEC report? You’re already in Digital Purgatory.

A thank you note from JCW: We’re back on line in the U.S. with fresh new digs here in Oakland and a new field office in San Joaquin County. Thanks to Yen NZ and AUS for taking over for the past week. Hopefully they didn’t miss anything.