Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye today named an ad hoc workgroup that will examine successful court practices adopted during the pandemic and recommend those that demonstrate the most promise to increase access to justice, modernize services, and promote consistency and uniformity throughout the state.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, in what we now call Phase 1, the Judicial Council used emergency powers given to us by the Governor to help court users and our court family to be safe while keeping our doors open, both virtually and physically,” the Chief Justice said. “Phase 2 of pandemic planning is reflected in the Governor’s January budget proposals now under consideration in the Legislature. Phase 3 planning will focus on refining and enhancing court practices based on lessons learned during this past year.”
The Chief Justice is asking the Ad Hoc Workgroup on Post-Pandemic Initiatives to also examine alternative dispute resolution practices, jury system reform such as online screening of jurors, as well as ways to streamline and modernize case processing practices, including remote proceedings.
“Some of our preliminary research shows, for example, that courts were able to dispose of more juvenile dependency cases because of remote hearings,” the Chief Justice said, “and many of the youth involved in those cases report that they preferred the remote hearings because they feel safer.”
The workgroup will consist of Judicial Council members and be chaired by Justice Marsha Slough. Other members are: Judge Marla Anderson, Judge Kevin Brazile, Judge Kyle Brodie, Judge Thomas A. Delaney, Justice Brad Hill, Judge Ann Moorman, court executives Rebecca Fleming and Kevin Harrigan, and attorneys Rachel Hill and Gretchen Nelson.