SAN FRANCISCO—The Judicial Council at its September 19 meeting voted to name the new downtown Sacramento courthouse under construction after former Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and rename the Court of Appeal in Santa Ana after former Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso.
Having served at the trial, appellate, and Supreme Court levels during her career, Cantil-Sakauye was a trailblazer in the California judicial branch. The naming honors her many contributions to the legal community and the third branch of government up through her term as Chief Justice from 2011 to 2022. Nominated by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010, she became the first woman of color and second woman to serve as Chief Justice of California.
Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye was born and raised in Sacramento County, and the naming garnered strong community support from numerous jurists, professionals, organizations, and educational institutions.
“I have the tremendous, good fortune of sitting in the same chambers that then Associate Justice Cantil-Sakauye occupied when she served on the Court of Appeal,” said Shama Hakim Mesiwala, an associate justice on the appellate court in Sacramento, who spoke in support of the proposal. “In my wildest dreams, I could not imagine having those chambers, let alone any chambers at the Court of Appeal. But she made this dream possible for me and so many others.” Watch
The council also approved renaming the appellate courthouse in Santa Ana after former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso to honor his many contributions to the legal community and years of service until his passing in 2021. Born and raised in Orange County, Justice Reynoso was a trailblazing lawyer, jurist, and law professor. He became the first Latino associate justice of the California Supreme Court, serving from 1982 to 1987.
“Justice Reynoso is an excellent example of someone who came from humble beginnings to go on to achieve extraordinary success,” said Kathleen E. O'Leary, who serves as presiding justice of the appellate court in Santa Ana. “A role model to whom you can personally relate can be the most effective. The goal is that young Latinos who see the courthouse will aspire to dream bigger and realize their full potential.” Watch
Other Items on the Council Meeting Agenda:
New Court Rules and Forms: The council approved more than 30 agenda items related to new rules and forms to help implement new legislation or improve case procedures. These include changes in the areas of appellate procedure, civil, criminal, domestic violence, protective orders, conservatorships, traffic, unlawful detainer, and family and juvenile proceedings.
Remote Access to Electronic Court Records: The council approved a policy that provides guidance to its advisory bodies as they consider pending legislation, proposals for new legislation or rules of court, or any other action that implicates remote access to electronic court records. The council also agreed to establish an advisory body to consider whether any recommendations to the council regarding the existing remote access rules of court are appropriate, consistent with the proposed policy. Watch
Council Receives Report on Legislation to Alleviate State Prison Overcrowding: The council received a report on Senate Bill 678, legislation that helped decrease the number of defendants sent to prison for violating probation. This most recent report showed that the percentage of the statewide felony probation population that was incarcerated—4% in 2022—continues to be significantly lower than the baseline rate of 7.9% in 2010, more than $100 million per year that would have gone to state prisons to house inmates is being redirected to county probation departments, and a significant portion of redirected funding went toward the increased use of effective, evidence-based supervision practices implemented at the local level, which include the use of risk and needs assessments, management and supervision practices, referrals to treatment and intervention, and court collaboration. Watch
Courts Using Data Analytics to Improve Operations and Services: The council got an update on the judicial branch’s pilot projects that are using data analytics to improve court operations, such as jury service and case management. For example, the council heard how the Superior Court of Santa Barbara County analyzes its filings data to determine which types of cases have the most unrepresented litigants so the court can design its self-help center and services to meet the needs of court users. Watch
Chief Justice’s Civic Learning Initiative: The council received a progress report outlining the expansion of the Chief Justice’s key initiatives to increase civic learning, which include the statewide Civic Learning Awards and Judges in the Classroom programs. The Civic Learning Award has been presented 518 times to 330 schools in the last decade. The Judges in the Classroom program also continues to expand, with 213 volunteer judges from 32 counties. Watch
New Council Administrative Director: The council announced that Shelley Curran will become its new administrative director effective January 1. Curran has more than 20 years of experience working on public policy with all three branches of government—14 with the judicial branch. She currently serves as the council’s Chief Policy and Research Officer, and will succeed the council’s Acting Administrative Director Millicent Tidwell, who announced her retirement at the end of the year. Curran is the first woman and openly LGBTQ+ person to hold this permanent leadership role at the council. Watch
The complete council meeting agenda and council reports are posted to the California Courts Meeting Information Center. A link to a live webcast of the meeting will be on the California Courts website on the day of the meeting.