San Francisco—The Judicial Council of California will hold its second public business meeting of the year from 10:00 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, in the Judicial Council Conference Center, Hiram J. Smith State Office Building, Third Floor, Ronald M. George State Office Complex, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco.
Chaired by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the council is the administrative policymaking body of the California courts. The meeting will be audiocast live, and the agenda and reports are now posted online. A summary of the reports on the discussion agenda follows.
Ethics Standards for Neutral Arbitrators: Anyone serving as a neutral arbitrator under an arbitration agreement is required to comply with ethics standards adopted by the Judicial Council under Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.85. The council will consider amendments to the ethics standards in response to recent appellate court decisions. Among other things, the amendments would clarify required disclosures about associations in the private practice of law and other professional relationships between an arbitrator’s spouse or domestic partner and a lawyer in the arbitration.
Status Report on CCMS and Phoenix Financial System: The Judicial Council will consider an annual report on the Status of the California Court Case Management System and the Phoenix Program 2011. Government Code section 68511.8(a) requires that the Judicial Council annually report to the Legislature on CCMS and the Court Accounting and Reporting System, now referred to as the Phoenix Financial System, until both projects are completed.
Funds Supporting the Judicial Branch: This presentation by the AOC Finance Division will provide council members, the courts, and the public with an in-depth overview of the various fund types that support judicial branch operations. The current and projected balances of these funds will be discussed, as well as their use in mitigating the impact of budget reductions in recent years. (No action required.)
Business Process Reengineering: This is an informational report on a proposed Trial Court Business Process Reengineering services model developed by the Court Executives Advisory Committee. The service model is designed to assist interested trial courts with maximizing the potential of reduced workforces, and creating more efficient and productive court structures and business practices. (No action required.)
Domestic Violence: This is an informational report on the impact of implementing rule 4.700 of the California Rules of Court regarding firearms relinquishment in criminal domestic violence cases. (No action required.)
Closing Courtrooms/Reducing Clerks’ Office Hours: Section 68106 of the Government Code directs (1) trial courts to notify the public and the Judicial Council before closing courtrooms or clerks’ offices or reducing clerks’ office hours on days that are not judicial holidays, and (2) the council to post on its website and relay to the Legislature all such court notices. This is the tenth report providing information about the implementation of these notice requirements. Since the last report, two courts—San Mateo and Merced—have given such notice. A total of 26 courts have given notice since section 68106 was enacted in 2010. (No action required.)
Consent Agenda: Fifteen proposals on the consent agenda concern changes to rules and forms required by recently enacted legislation and otherwise recommended by council advisory committees. One report proposes additions and revisions to the Judicial Council’s Criminal Jury Instructions.
The consent agenda also includes several annual reports required by state law on local courthouse construction funds, electronic recording equipment, court reporter fees and equipment, special fund expenditures, and California’s Access to Visitation Grant Program. The final audit report of the Superior Court of Riverside County also is on the consent agenda.