Using judicial ethics to silence dissent?

Posted on November 28, 2012

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We’ve been monitoring what appears to be a developing story and that story appears to be an attempt by the JC\AOC to silence dissent and to encourage continued “speak with one voice” behavior through the employment of judicial ethics as the big stick.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/CJEO-2012-001-draft-comments-received.pdf

In particular:

“The committee cautions that judges should be wary of inviting lawyers to seek particular results that benefit the judge’s court to the detriment of other courts. For example, a judge should avoid requesting that an attorney ask a legislator to move courthouse
construction funds to general trial court operations.”

The part in black is obscure enough to have the intent of punishing judges for not speaking with one voice. The example given is a bright line protection measure to protect the judicial council and the AOC from criticism. Advocating the death of CCMS at 560 million dollars would \ could arguably impact those courts who bought in to the big lie, ergo it would appear to be a violation of ethics to comment upon one of the many failed AOC programs simply because it is likely to be interpreted as detrimentally affecting another court.

Just set aside the fact that continued development would have and already has detrimentally affected all courts by making the judicial council and the AOC and by logical extension, the judicial branch’s follies into both software and construction the laughingstock of all California government.  

At least the DMV had the foresight to terminate their tandem project at a mere 50 million dollars while the AOC spent more than 13 times that amount for the same nothing.

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Attorneys groups have generally been advocating greater funding for the judicial branch. Our problem with that is that these advocates have been fitted with blinders and for the most part have ignored the monumental waste of public funds exhibited by the AOC through the use of incompetent developers charged with making a case management system, the use of unlicensed, grossly overpriced contractors to maintain every courthouse from the Oregon border to the Mexican border, the commitment to spend 1.8 billion dollars on just one courthouse, a hundred thousand dollar embezzlement that went without charges or a crime report even being filed.

This is all by Judicial Council intent and by AOC design. Having completely lost control of the message, they want to use the power of retaliation to silence dissent and have it legally enforceable.

Of course those that wish to jump on this support bandwagon are those who have courthouses in the works while those who are probably on the dissent bandwagon want to see the courts survive.

This paragraph appears to strike out at the members of the ACJ and other dissenters who agree with the ACJ’s premise that “Courts are not computers or buildings. Courts are sessions of people — where children in foster care have their fates decided, where crime victims and injured persons, and those accused of crime or causing injury have their day in court. Access requires open doors.”

It also strikes out at judicial advocates of funding parity for it makes perfect sense that if San Joaquin is advocating for funding parity that parity is going to come at the cost of some other court.

The JC\AOC currently has this out for comment and there have only been a few comments thus far. We would hope to see a whole lot of people weigh in on this as the advocacy you are protecting is your own. You appear to have until December 19th to comment.

http://courts.ca.gov/policyadmin-invitationstocomment.htm