SAN FRANCISCO—Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye today announced that she is asking the Judicial Council to take emergency action to adopt a rule of court to facilitate access to justice for court users challenging traffic fines.
“Many of the procedures and practices regarding traffic fines derive from statute,” the Chief Justice said. “However, the law is confusing and may result in inconsistent practices or policies throughout the state. I’m charging the Judicial Council as the constitutional statewide policymaking body to expeditiously initiate our rule-making process to act on an emergency basis. We need a court rule that makes it clear that Californians do not have to pay for a traffic infraction before being able to appear in court.”
“As I stated April 17 during our Judicial Council business meeting, the issue raised by fines and fees can be an access to justice issue, as well as a fiscal issue for the entire state. All three branches are trying to address it.”
In addition to this immediate action by the council, the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System, appointed by the Chief Justice, is taking a broader look at effective public access to California’s courts, including traffic proceedings and the impact of mandatory and discretionary fines, fees, and penalties on court users.