SAN FRANCISCO—The Judicial Council of California voted today to accept for consideration a report from a special committee recommending structural changes to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). The council also approved a process to consider and take action on the committee’s recommendations.
The Strategic Evaluation Committee (SEC) was appointed by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye in March 2011 to conduct an in-depth review of the AOC with a view toward promoting transparency, accountability, and efficiency. The Chief Justice received the report and recommendations on May 25.
“When I became Chief Justice, it was urgent to assess the needs of the judicial branch and the justice system,” said Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, chair of the Judicial Council. “An informed, comprehensive look at the AOC was one of my first priorities. I want to express my deep gratitude to the Strategic Evaluation Committee for taking on a never-before performed review of the AOC in order to recommend how the AOC can best serve the courts and the public.”
The SEC report was presented to the council by the chair and vice chair of the SEC, Assistant Presiding Judge Charles D. Wachob of the Superior Court of Placer County and Presiding Judge Brian L. McCabe of the Superior Court of Merced County. The council also received many in-person and written comments on the report from judges, attorneys, and other interested parties.
After discussing the report and thanking the SEC for its work, the council approved a process to consider and take action on the committee’s recommendations:
- Refer and assign the report to the Executive & Planning Committee for review and consideration of each recommendation.
- The report and its recommendations will be posted online for public comment for 30 days and the public comment period will be expanded if deemed necessary;
- Written comments received on the SEC report for the June 20-22 Judicial Council meeting and during the 30-day public comment period will be posted to the California Courts website and provided to the Executive & Planning Committee for its consideration;
- The council’s Executive & Planning Committee will evaluate and prioritize each recommendation with the assistance of the three SEC members the Chief appointed to the Judicial Council-- Judge Wachob, Judge McCabe, and Riverside Presiding Judge Sherrill Ellsworth;
- The Executive & Planning Committee may ask for additional input from other groups or individuals;
- The Executive & Planning Committee will report back to the council at its August meeting with the comments received, a list of priorities that the council should focus on, and a proposed timeline for acting on the recommendations.
“We have heard many thoughtful comments today and over the last several weeks about the SEC’s recommendations,” said Justice Douglas Miller, chair of the council’s Executive & Planning Committee. “We are fully committed to this report and our process, and take full responsibility for preserving its integrity.”