SAN FRANCISCO—At its public meeting on April 15, the Judicial Council will get an update on Ventura County’s evidenced-based, risk-assessment program for deciding when to set bail for criminal defendants, reduce bail, or release without bail outright or with conditions. Ventura court and probation agency representatives will explain how it works and highlight the results of the program in its first two years.

Pre-trial release programs focus on public safety and evaluating defendants’ risk of reoffending or failure to appear in court. These programs can also reduce the jail population of low-level defendants, many of whom cannot afford bail and have no choice but to remain in jail while awaiting trial.

Other items on the April 15 council meeting agenda include:

Court-Appointed Dependency Counsel: The council will consider recommendations to update the dependency counsel funding methodology developed in 2007. The proposed new workload methodology has already undergone extensive review and public comment.

Language Access―Requesting Court Interpreters: The council will consider a proposed new rule requiring courts to publish procedures for processing requests for interpreters in civil actions. The council will also consider a new model form to help courts track and facilitate requests.

Update on Civic Learning Program―Brawley High School: The council will hear a report on The Power of Democracy initiative, which promotes civic learning, inclusive of the courts, for California's K-12 students. The council will also hear from Brawley Union High School about its civics education program, a past recipient of the Civic Learning Award.

Expedited Jury Trials: The council will consider recommendations to revise the rules of court and forms to implement Assembly Bill 555. The bill shortens expedited jury trials from three hours per side to five hours per side and expands the statute to require them in most limited civil actions other than unlawful detainers.

Psychotropic Medication for Foster Children: The council will consider recommendations to amend the rules of court and adopt and revise court forms to implement Senate Bill 238, which changes the requirements for court authorization of psychotropic medication for foster children.

Sealing of Juvenile Court Records: The council will consider recommendations to adopt new and amended rules and forms to implement the provisions of five recently enacted statutes concerning juvenile record sealing, including a requirement to eliminate fees for sealing for petitioners under 26 years of age.

Updates From Council Liaison Visits to Local Courts: The council is scheduled to receive liaison reports on the superior courts in Kern, San Luis Obispo, and Solano Counties (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.

The April 15 meeting agenda and council reports have been posted online, and a link to the live videocast of the meeting will be on the California Courts website on the day of the meeting.