Monday, March 28, 2011
Three More Former Presiding Judges Endorse AB 1208
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Former Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judges Charles W. “Tim” McCoy, James Bascue and Robert Parkin endorsed AB 1208 on Friday, bringing to seven the number of former heads of the court to back the measure on administrative and financial autonomy for trial courts.
Victor E. Chavez, J. Stephen Czuleger, Robert A. Dukes and William A. MacLaughlin had previously expressed support for the Trial Court Rights Act of 2011, introduced last month by Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Industry. The Sacramento, Amador, Mariposa, and Kern superior courts have also endorsed the measure.
Bascue, a former Judicial Council member who is now retired from the bench, sent an email to his former colleagues Friday in which he advised the proposed legislation “is necessary to bring back some balance to our trial court systems and protect us, and the community from a mismanaged, power hungry [Administrative Office of the Courts].”
Parkin, also retired, issued the statement that “I fully support the views expressed by my fellow former Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judges regarding the need to support the passage of AB 1208.”
McCoy, who remains a member of the court, said he too felt “AB 1208 is necessary and appropriate at this time,” and urged his fellow bench officers to “candidly share our thoughts and concerns” by completing a survey sent out by the California Judges Association on Thursday.
“In the past, many good judges have understandably been afraid to speak out in dissent on statewide judicial administrative issues,” McCoy said, but “[t]he time has come for all of us to set those fears aside and speak our minds.”
He said, however, he had “not yet determined how best to respond, if at all,” to one question, number IV on the survey, which asks the judges to rate their level of support for the proposition “that judicial branch governance should remain within the judicial branch itself, and not become a function of external political processes.”
McCoy remarked that “the other primary substantive questions are essentially open-ended,” but “Question IV advances a doctrine—take it, or leave it.” He acknowledged that “many of you find [this question] objectionable in form and apparent intent” since it “appears to promote a particular point of view to the exclusion of important substantive variations and alternatives.”
The reason for this, McCoy claimed, was because this inquiry was added by the CJA Executive Committee “over strong objection” and “at the last minute, with only a few hours remaining before the Survey had to be sent out.”
He said he had objected to including the question and that he hoped the CJA board will strike the inquiry from the survey.
Efforts to reach CJA leadership on Friday were unsuccessful.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company