VIA WEB CONFERENCE—The Judicial Council today approved $25 million to help fund 13 statewide technology initiatives to expand access to court services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These initiatives are being driven largely by pandemic concerns, but it's also part of an overall modernization plan that’s been in place for a long time,” said San Bernardino County Judge Kyle Brodie, chair of the council’s Technology Committee. “When developing the list of projects, we made sure we got input from the courts so we knew these efforts are feasible and can show some real gains this year.”
The proposal from the council’s Technology Committee included 13 major areas of investment to receive budget funds allocated to modernize court operations. They include:
- Remote Appearances: deploy video technology into more courtrooms to allow litigants to appear remotely, with funds included to digitize documents and evidence
- Automated Messaging: a statewide online reminder system providing email and text reminders for the public on court appearances and jury duty
- Virtual Customer Service Centers: add online and live chat tools to more court public websites to provide customer support remotely
Other items on the council meeting agenda include:
New Work Group on Homelessness: Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye announced the creation of the Work Group on Homelessness. The group will look at ways the judicial branch can partner or complement any efforts the Governor and Legislature may make to assist those that are experiencing homelessness or who face imminent homelessness.
Remote Video Appearances for Court Proceedings: The council received a report on remote appearances for most noncriminal court proceedings, which includes initial recommendations and resources for courts to consider as they introduce or expand remote appearances. The report includes input from seven projects in five counties that have used Judicial Council Innovation Grant funds to help expand remote proceedings. Next steps include legislative proposals to promote remote appearances and statewide master agreements to make it easier for courts to contract with technology vendors. Watch
Mandatory Anti-Bias and Discrimination Education for Judges: The council approved a proposal to require training for judicial officers on unconscious bias and preventing discrimination and harassment. While elements of these topics are already part of mandatory training, the proposal would extend the range of offerings required. Watch
Protecting Interests of Minors and Persons with Disabilities: The council approved a recommendation to revise court forms used in proceedings to approve the compromise of a claim or action, or the disposition of the proceeds of a judgment for a minor or person with a disability. The changes would increase access for these vulnerable individuals, protect their interests, and expedite the secure distribution of settlements and judgments entered in their favor. Watch
The complete agenda, council reports, and archived webcast of the meeting broken out by topic are posted to the California Courts Meeting Information Center.