Friday, March 16, 2012
Edmon, Clarke Join Other Court Leaders in Urging Redirection of CCMS Funding
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The presiding judge and executive officer of the Los Angeles Superior Court have joined other court leaders from around the state in urging that the Judicial Council vote to stop the development and deployment of the latest version the proposed statewide computer system and to redirect all funding to the trial courts.
“It is our firm position that we can no longer support further development of CCMS V4,” the authors wrote to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye in a letter dated Tuesday. A copy was obtained yesterday by the MetNews.
The authors included Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Lee Edmon, court Executive Officer/Clerk John Clarke, and presiding judges, assistant presiding judges, and/or executives from the San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Orange, Kern, Mariposa, Trinity, and San Mateo superior courts.
The letter was written in advance of a March 27 Judicial Council meeting where the future of the California Case Management System is expected to be a leading topic. That became particularly true after a state Assembly subcommittee Wednesday voted unanimously to endorse legislation suspending, but not canceling, funding for the system other than in the seven counties where it has already been deployed.
The Administrative Office of the Courts recently reported that more than $500 million was spent on CCMS through June 30 of last year.
Noting that trial court funding statewide has been reduced by $605 million in the past four years, the authors said that further funding of the is unaffordable.
“Simply put, these cuts are not sustainable,” they wrote. “Nor is it reasonable to conclude as does the Judicial Council’s recent six-point budget plan, that the trial courts can absorb $352 million in cuts and adequately fulfill our legal mandate and ethical obligation to the people of the State of California. Justice cannot survive at such a level.”
The authors argued:
“If state-wide deployment of CCMS V4 was ever an attainable goal, the time has passed as the State’s budget crisis has grown and endured....We recommend that AOC staff be directed to immediately work with trial courts to identify other case management systems that would meet local courts’ needs at a far more reasonable cost.”
The Assembly panel that voted Wednesday was heavily lobbied, according to media reports, by the Service Employees International Union, which represents court workers in many counties, including Los Angeles, and by the Alliance of California Judges, which has fiercely criticized the project ever since the group was formed.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company