VIA WEB CONFERENCE—The Judicial Council of California today approved trial court funding from the fiscal year 2021–22 state budget, which includes new funding for court operations, courthouse construction and maintenance, and self-help services.
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye said the budget “provides much-needed investment in the judicial branch” at a time when courts at all levels have continued to serve the public by “performing under enormous pressure, and leveraging technology amid the global health crisis.”
The council’s Administrative Director Martin Hoshino reported parts of the judicial branch budget are still awaiting the Governor’s signature, including funding to help with pandemic-related backlogs, eviction actions, and new online tools to help the public deal with traffic infractions.
Public Input to Pandemic Workgroup Identifies Remote Access as Predominant Theme
Justice Marsha Slough, chair of the Chief Justice’s Ad Hoc Workgroup on Post-Pandemic Initiatives, shared that the vast majority of public input received to date from justice system partners and court user groups clearly identified remote access to proceedings as an equal access to justice issue. Justice Slough said, “We simply would be wrongheaded after all we've heard so far to unplug remote proceedings as a tool to be used in accessing justice in our courts.” Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye added that remote access has been a long-term goal for the judicial branch and the workgroup’s ongoing findings will help inform a three-branch solution for remote access to court proceedings. She concluded, “What it has come down to in your moving remarks to me is that remote access to justice, hands down, serves our most vulnerable.” Watch
Other items on the council meeting agenda included:
Funding for Trial Courts to Address Inflationary Cost Increases: The council allocated $72.2 million in ongoing funding—specifically included in the FY 2021-22 state budget for trial courts to address inflationary cost increases—as a 3.7% Consumer Price Index-based increase to all courts. The council’s decision to allocate the funding on a pro rata basis is consistent with what the Governor and Legislature intended. Watch
Budget Change Proposals: The council approved submitting budget change proposals for fiscal year 2022–23 to the state Department of Finance. The proposals request additional funding for trial court operations, modernizing information technology, self-help centers, language access, appellate court-appointed counsel, court security, and courthouse construction and maintenance. The council will now submit the proposals to the state Department of Finance for review, which then makes its own recommendations to the Governor for development of the next state budget proposal announced in January. Watch
Interstate Adult Offender Supervision Appointment: The council appointed San Bernardino County Judge R. Glenn Yabuno to the California Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervision. This California Council helps to govern state administration of the transfer across state lines of the supervision of adult parolees and probationers.
New and Departing Council Members
The Chief Justice welcomed the recently appointed council members attending the meeting who officially start their terms on Sept. 15. She also acknowledged the four council members attending their last business meeting, as their terms conclude on Sept. 14. Those departing council members include Presiding Judge Joyce D. Hinrichs, Judge Thomas A. Delaney, Court Executive Officer Nancy CS Eberhardt, and Attorney Patrick M. Kelly. The Chief Justice thanked them for their expertise, dedication, and service to the council and state judicial branch.
The complete meeting agenda and council reports are posted to the California Courts Meeting Information Center. An archived webcast of the entire meeting broken out by topic will be added to the center as soon as it is available.