VIA WEB CONFERENCE—The Judicial Council at its May 21 meeting approved new data and information policy concepts that aim to improve how the judicial branch uses data and information to guide decisions on expanding and improving court operations and services.
A court innovations grant awarded to the Orange County Superior Court for its data project was the genesis for the branchwide vision on data analytics. “Trial courts are the incubators of change,” said Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye. “Orange County received a grant and turned it into something that changes the branch and sets an example, nationally."
Council members heard how the past year has accelerated the ongoing need for data due to the pandemic’s effects on court operations and services, such as the:
- Number of courts holding remote proceedings and in which case types
- Number of litigants accessing self-help centers (in-person and remotely)
- Number of filings and dispositions
“This really goes to the heart of access to justice,” said Alameda County Judge Tara Desautels, who helped present the report. “The goal is to analyze, use, and share data to inform decision-making so we can expand vital and accessible services to the people of California.” Watch
Other items on the council meeting agenda include:
Workgroup on Post-Pandemic Initiatives: In March, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye named a workgroup to examine court practices adopted during the pandemic and recommend those that demonstrate the most promise. Justice Marsha Slough provided an update on the work group’s progress, which included meetings with court leaders, legal aid representatives, and landlord and tenant organizations. The workgroup also plans to hear from attorneys, law enforcement, and other justice system stakeholders. Watch
Latest Judicial Branch Budget Proposal: The council’s Administrative Director Martin Hoshino provided an overview of Governor Newsom’s proposed FY 2021–22 state budget released last week. The proposal for the judicial branch includes money to restore $200 million previously cut from the judicial branch budget, address pandemic-related case backlogs, increase legal aid, expand pretrial services, build new courthouses and maintain existing facilities, and forgive fines and fees for low-income people. Watch
Guidelines for Video Remote Interpreting: In response to the increased use of remote proceedings resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the council approved updated guidelines for spoken language interpreting in video remote proceedings. The revised guidelines support both physical and virtual courtrooms to ensure access to justice and the health and safety of court users, court staff, and judicial officers.
Court Interpreters Program Funding: The council approved a one-time allocation methodology for FY 2021-22 to help trial courts plan pending the final FY 2021-22 budget allocations. With over 200 languages spoken in California, court interpreters play a critical role in providing equal access to the court system. Watch
Advisory Member Appointments: The council reappointed Associate Justice Carin T. Fujisaki and Presiding Judge Ann C. Moorman as non-voting advisory members. The reappointments enable the council to maintain continuity of leadership to address critical judicial branch policy issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the administration of justice.
Board of State and Community Corrections Appointment: The council appointed Judge Janet Gaard (Ret.) to the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC). The BSCC is an independent statutory agency that provides leadership to the adult and juvenile criminal justice systems, and expertise on public safety realignment issues. The BSCC is composed of 13 members, including a judge appointed by the Judicial Council.
The complete meeting agenda and council reports are posted to the California Courts Meeting Information Center. An archived webcast of the entire meeting broken out by topic will be added to the center as soon as it is available.