Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, August 17, 2011


Page 3


Judicial Council Says Meetings to Be More Accessible


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Judicial Council yesterday announced the planned implementation of new procedures aimed at increasing public accessibility to its meetings.

Fourth District Court of Appeal Justice Douglas Miller, newly-appointed chair of the council’s Executive and Planning Committee, said these procedures were developed pursuant ton a request by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye that the council take a “fresh and thorough look at every aspect of how the council operates and governs.”

The council, which meets six to eight times a year, and is set to convene next Friday, “will now start with an expanded public comment period,” Miller said, and “anyone wishing to comment on a matter related to judicial administration can speak directly to the council and comments will be welcome at the time the specific agenda item is presented.”

In the past, public comments were made only at the beginning of council meetings and limited to items for council decision on that agenda.

Another change, Miller said, is that the council’s educational meetings, also known as “issues” meetings, will also be open to the public. The next such meeting is scheduled for next Thursday, to address court management in light of the branch’s budgetary shortfalls.

The council has been plagued in recent months with criticism regarding its operations.

Comments generated in response to a member survey conducted by the California Judges Association in March indicated that its members felt the council is “arrogant and insular” and that the outcome of its meetings “appear pre-ordained.”

A report prepared by a committee of Los Angeles Superior Court judges disseminated among their colleagues in June also noted similar negative perceptions of the council, and faulted the council’s operations for lacking in transparency, stifling debate among members, suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and limiting the ability of members to participate in decision making


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