Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, December 8, 2003


Page 3


Los Angeles Court’s Teacher Program Wins Judicial Council Award


By DAVID WATSON, Staff Writer


The Judicial Council of California, meeting in Los Angeles Friday, voted to give its annual awards to 10 court programs—including one operated by the Los Angeles Superior Court—and seven individuals.

Among the winners of the 2003 Ralph N. Kleps Awards was the Los Angeles court’s Teachers’ Courthouse Seminar, a program which brings high school government teachers to a local courthouse for a one-day, interactive observation of the criminal justice system.

The Kleps Awards, given in five categories corresponding to trial courts of various sizes and appellate courts, are named for the first administrative director of the California courts and have been given annually since 1991.

Among the individual honorees were James Herman, the immediate past president of the State Bar of California, and former Gov. George Deukmejian. Herman and Deukmejian received the council’s Bernard E. Witkin Awards.

The individual awards, of three types and collectively denominated Distinguished Service Awards, are in their 11th year and will be presented by Chief Justice Ronald M. George and Administrative Director of the Courts William C. Vickrey in February during the 2004 California Judicial Administration Conference.

The council announced it will also honor Justice Carol Corrigan of Div. Three of the First District Court of Appeal, Justice James Ward of Div. Two of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, and Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Leonard Edwards as Jurists of the Year. Jeanne Millsaps, court executive officer for the San Joaquin Superior Court, and Christine Hansen, director of the Finance Division of the Administrative Office of the Courts, will be honored by receiving the council’s Judicial Administration Awards.

Corrigan and Ward were selected for their work on the council’s Task Force on Jury Instructions, a statement released by the council explained. The council’s plain-language civil jury instructions were published this fall after six years of preparation.

Edwards was honored for “innovative and lasting contributions to the judiciary in the areas of juvenile and family courts, court coordination, and domestic violence prevention and intervention,” the council’s statement noted, pointing out that he was instrumental in the creation of one of the first unified family courts in the state.

Herman’s award was based on his work in preserving court funding during this year’s budget crisis, while Deukmejian was honored for a career that included service as attorney general as well as governor. The council’s statement noted that as governor Deukmejian signed the Trial Court Delay Reduction Act of 1986 and appointed more than 1,000 trial judges and eight justices of the Supreme Court.

Millsaps was selected for “her more than 30-year commitment to improving judicial administration and her ability to balance the local interests of her court with broader statewide judicial branch objectives,” the statement declared, while crediting Hansen’s “finance expertise” with playing a key role in “meeting the needs of the branch during the state’s budget challenges.”

The Los Angeles Superior Court’s award came in the category of trial courts with more than 50 authorized judicial positions. The seminar program provides educational materials, including an interactive CD-ROM, that teachers can use in their classrooms.

Also winning an award in the category for the state’s largest courts was the Orange Superior Court’s Interactive Community Assistance Network (I-CAN!) project, a network of web-based legal services and interactive kiosks that assist self-represented litigants.

For courts with fewer than seven judges, the Kleps Award winners were:

•The Inyo Superior Court’s Night Court for Child Support Calendar program, which allows working parents to attend without being adversely impacted economically; and

•The Siskiyou Superior Court’s Visual Guides to the Courts program, which produced visual storytelling brochures that walk litigants through eight subject areas of the legal system.

For courts with seven to 19 judges, the winning program was the Yolo Superior Court’s Guardianship Facilitation and Outreach program, which assists pro per grandparents and other caretakers with the guardianship process.

For courts with 20 to 49 judges, the winners were:

•The Fresno Superior Court’s Spanish Self-Help Center, or Centro de Recursos Legales, which provides educational information and language assistance to pro per litigants in a group that now represents 44 percent of the county’s population;

•The San Mateo Superior Court’s EZLegalFile Service Bureau, an Internet-based, interactive program that allows litigants to complete Judicial Council forms in family law, small claims, or unlawful detainer cases; and

•The Ventura Superior Court’s Tip of the Day Radio Program, which produces five-minute public service radio announcements live in Spanish Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m. on KOXR, a Spanish-language radio station.

For appellate courts, Kleps Awards were given to:

•The Fourth District’s Step by Step Civil Appellate Manual, which instructs self-represented litigants who are undertaking an appeal on how to proceed in Division One; and

•The Fifth District’s Courts as Curriculum program, which allowed more than 100 students to attend a Supreme Court session held at the appellate court last month which was also broadcast live on television.

The Kleps Award winners were selected from 38 nominees, and the awards will also be presented in February at the Judicial Administration Conference.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company