(Oct 28, 2016)
Before I move on, I want to raise an issue that's been a concern to me for many years that I referenced in my State of the Judiciary. And I believe we're ready to move on now. I'd like to speak to the matter of equal access to justice in California and nationally.
All three branches of our government have worked on and thought about the bail system and how they sometimes unfairly penalize the poor and may not effectively service its intended purposes years and years down the road. So I'm establishing a work group to provide recommendations on how courts may better identify ways and release decisions that will treat people fairly and not based on their pocketbook, protect the public and also ensure court appearances for the orderly process of our judiciary.
And so as quickly we acted on our traffic rule several years ago, I am now thinking that we can act on pretrial detention. So I'm appointing Judge Brian Back here on our council from Ventura and Judge Lisa Rodriguez from San Diego as vice-chairs of a pretrial detention and reform work group. I'm also appointing to this work group Napa Presiding Judge Mark Boessenecker, Judge Arturo Castro from Alameda, Judge Hillary Chittick from Fresno, Judge Scott Gordon from Los Angeles, San Francisco Assistant Presiding Judge Terry Jackson, Presiding Judge Brian McCabe from Merced, Judge Serena Murillo from Los Angeles, Presiding Judge Risë Jones Pichon from Santa Clara, and Monterey County Executive Officer Teresa Risi, and retired judge from Santa Barbara Judge George Eskin.
The work group, once they meet, may decide to add other additional stakeholders to the work group should they seek additional input, but they will also seek input from those involved in the bail process who should report back to me totally with reported findings to the council by December 2017.
This is just the beginning of the process that is about protecting the public while ensuring fairness and equal access to justice.