SAN FRANCISCO—The Judicial Council at its May 24 business meeting will consider revising a rule of court to clarify that any settlement agreements involving judicial officers for which public funds were spent must be disclosed in response to public records requests, including agreements related to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination.
In April, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye convened a workgroup to study and recommend changes to the rules of court to ensure that all levels of the state court system respond to these types of requests.
The workgroup’s proposal also states that the names of judicial officers may not be redacted from those agreements; however, the names of complainants and witnesses, and any other information that would identify complainants or witnesses, may be redacted.
In addition, the rule would not apply to records maintained by the Commission on Judicial Performance, which has separate rules that apply to its work and records. The commission is the independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity, as well as for disciplining judges.
Other items on the council meeting agenda include:
Trial Court Financial Policies and Procedures Manual: The council will consider an update to the guide that helps ensure fiscal responsibility within the judicial branch. The manual provides a system of fundamental internal controls that enable trial courts to monitor their use of public funds, provide consistent and comparable financial statements, and demonstrate accountability.
Updates From Council Liaison Visits to Local Courts: The council is scheduled to receive liaison reports on the superior courts in Mariposa, Merced, and Monterey Counties. 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.