Monday, December 12, 2011
Alliance Asks Council for Neutrality on AB1208
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The directors of the Alliance of California Judges on Friday called on the Judicial Council to not take action to oppose AB 1208 at the meeting set to take place today and tomorrow in San Francisco.
In a letter addressed to California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter, chair of the council’s Policy Coordination and Liaison Committee, alliance directors asked that Judicial Council itself abstain, and request that its governmental affairs office take no position on the measure, in order to “allow the legislative process to go forward in a manner where all judges and courts can state their views on the bill directly to the Legislature….”
AB 1208, introduced in February by Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Industry, proposes increasing administrative and financial autonomy for trial courts, and has sharply divided the branch.
A total of 107 current and former bench officers across the state signed on to a “Dear Colleague” letter against the measure in March, and the Santa Clara and Santa Cruz superior courts have also opposed it.
Along with the alliance, the Los Angeles, Sacramento, Amador, Mariposa, and Kern superior courts are backing it.
A survey conducted by the California Judges Association in March also showed members showed members almost evenly split in their views, with 48 percent of respondents generally or somewhat supportive and 45 percent generally or somewhat opposed to the bill.
The alliance directors on Friday insisted “AB 1208 merely directs that all monies appropriated to the trial courts be apportioned to the trial courts without hold backs or set asides by the Judicial Council” and “thus assures that our local trial courts be treated as the first priority in funding—a position the Council and the Chief Justice have repeatedly espoused over the past two years.”
They also predicted that a council vote “in opposition to this common sense measure will only further erode the Council’s relationship with the local trial courts.”
“We ask that the Judicial Council itself abstain, [and] request that its governmental affairs office take no position,” the alliance said. “In this way, the views of all independently elected constitutional officers of the judicial branch will be shown the respect they deserve,” the directors claimed.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company