SAN FRANCISCO—At its public meeting on August 25–26, the Judicial Council will consider recommendations from its Court Facilities Advisory Committee that, until adequate funding can be restored, the schedules of active new courthouse projects be modified or put on hold.
Sixteen local courts gave presentations at the committee’s Aug. 11 meeting in an effort to preserve their local “immediate and critical need” courthouse projects, and to advocate for funding for safe and secure courthouses statewide. But construction fund redirections during the state’s fiscal crisis and a decline in funds from reduced case filings have dramatically cut funds available to replace substandard facilities.
Other items on the August 25–26 council meeting agenda include:
State Economic Forecast: The council will get an informational report on the state budget from Irena Asmundson, chief economist from the California Department of Finance.
Budget Proposals for Judicial Branch: The council will consider fiscal year 2017–18 budget change proposals for the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, Trial Courts, Judicial Council, Judicial Branch Facilities Program, and Habeas Corpus Resource Center.
Judicial Branch Technology Update: The council will get an informational update on the implementation of the council-adopted Court Technology Governance and Strategic Plan. The report will provide an update on a statewide e-filing initiative and highlight how technology is being used in the appellate courts to improve operations and service to the public.
Grants to Support Court Innovations: The council will consider approving a request for applications for $25 million in grant funding to promote innovative and efficient programs in the courts. The grant funding was included as part of the Budget Act of 2016, and calls for the council to administer a competitive grant program designated for the state’s trial and appellate courts.
Report on Criminal Justice Realignment: The council will consider data collected from trial courts on the implementation of the 2011 [Criminal Justice] Realignment Legislation. Collected annually, the data helps the judicial branch determine each courts’ new workload due to realignment, as measured by the total petitions filed to revoke and/or modify postrelease community supervision and parole.
Study on Use of Risk and Needs Assessments: The council will receive a report on the California Risk Assessment Pilot Project. The project explored how evidence-based practices, including the use of risk and needs assessment information, can reduce recidivism and improve public safety.
Updates From Council Liaison Visits to Local Courts: The council is scheduled to receive a liaison report on the superior court in El Dorado County (liaison reports are subject to change). These reports give council members information on a court’s operations and challenges, as well as its solutions to increase efficiency and effectiveness in how it provides access to justice for the public.