Controlling the message – Public Information Requests

Posted on December 12, 2012

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Going on as the last item on the discussion agenda is item x. Item x was not put out for public comment and it should be. The Judicial Council has chosen a labyrinth to evaluate if they will even respond to public information requests. If you are classified by them as a member of the general public – and this includes attorneys and judges – then you can probably expect that the new pubinfo won’t respond at all to your request.

First, identify the requester according to the following five (5) categories and then
respond accordingly:
• Judicial officers
• Members of Judicial Council advisory committees, task forces, and working groups
• Media
• Executive and legislative branch staff
• General public

A. Judicial officers
– Refer to Director of Court Operations Special Services Office, who will consult
with Chief’s appointee(s) to determine whether request is within the regular scope
of judicial business
o If “yes,” appropriate staff will be notified and should respond
o If “no,” refer to Chief’s appointee(s)

B. Members of Judicial Council committees, etc.
– Is request from or on behalf of committee chair?
o If “yes,” respond
o If “no,” continue below
– Refer to Director of Court Operations Special Services Office, who will consult
with Chief’s appointee(s) and/or committee chair to determine whether request is
within the regular scope of committee business
o If “yes,” appropriate staff will be notified and should respond
o If “no,” refer to Chief’s appointee(s)

C. Media
– Refer to Office of Communications for evaluation and response as appropriate

D. Executive and legislative staff
– Refer to Office of Governmental Affairs for evaluation and response as
appropriate

E. General public
– If the request appears to presents a legitimate issue or otherwise be appropriate for
response, refer to Director of Court Operations Special Services Office, who will
consult with Chief’s appointee(s) to determine whether to respond. Otherwise, a
response is not necessary

Let’s work this new procedure out. If you’re a member of the Alliance of California Judges and you want an administrative record about how much money was spent scraping gum off a sidewalk, the AOC will first discern if you have any business making the request. If scraping gum off sidewalks isn’t in your purview, then you are classified as the general public and no response is required.

If you’re a member of the “blog-like” courthouse news, then it’s conceivable that you are making the request as a member of the general public because the AOC does not wish to recognize you as a media company. Therefore, again, no response is required.

This is just another continued abuse of the public and judicial branch employees by the central politburo that wishes to conceal their actions. Regardless of the legitimacy of the requests, they have the option to reclassify the requester and not respond at all.

I think it is time that the state sunshine laws shined upon the Judicial Council and the AOC.  

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