Highlights from our August “What’s Hot” issue include 2 Self Study MCLE articles including the Legal Ethics MCLE article ‘Unleashing the Value of Your Law Practice Ethically’ (Elva Harding) and ‘The Law and LinkedIn – Why you should invest in your LinkedIn Profile’ (Randy Wilson).
Lisa: In 1986, the government was caught lying and destroying massive amounts of evidence. How did you overcome such challenges, and how were you able to substantiate the claims of the veterans you represented?
Gordon: That …
Lisa: Well, this wasn’t the first time you’ve fought for veterans’ rights. In the past, you’ve also defended so-called “atomic veterans” and veterans subjected to secret government tests. How did you get involved working with …
Lisa: It really is great to see you.
Gordon: Great to see you too.
Lisa: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview for us today. We want to congratulate you on your recent victory for veterans’ …
This Bench-Bar edition contains reflections on 2011 from our Judicial Leadership – Presiding Judge Diana Becton and Supervising Judges Judy Craddick – Civil, John Kennedy – Criminal, Joyce Cram – Family, Lois Haight – Juvenile, Lewis Davis – Pittsburg, Theresa Canepa – Richmond, and William Kolin – Walnut Creek-Concord. Assistant Presiding Judge Barry Goode will also describe the various community outreach programs the Court has supported over the years. Unfortunately, the budget crisis and resulting permanent cuts to funding may jeopardize these programs at some point in the future.
2011 Year in Review: Presiding Judge’s Perspective
Division perspectives from Supervising Judges Craddick, Kennedy, Cram, Haight, Davis, Canepa, and Kolin
This may be old news to you, but to introduce you to the Civil Division, I, Judy Craddick, Dept. 9, am the Supervising Judge. The former supervising Judge of the Civil Division, the Hon. Barry Goode, Dept. 17, handles Complex Litigation and is the Court’s Assistant Presiding Judge. Judge Goode asked me to mention that he has posted “A Handy Guide to Department 17” on the Complex Litigation section of the Court’s website. The rest of us who are not so “hightech” have trial rules which we hand out at the Issue Conference.
As you know, the Court, the District Attorney, and the Public Defender are suffering from massive budget cuts. To give you an idea of how bad it has gotten, we hear rumors that the District Attorney is collaborating with the Public Defender to outsource telephone wiretaps (also known as “phone hacking”) to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
The Family Law Division, like all other divisions, has continued to suffer from the serious budget shortfall. Staffing is at an all-time low, while filings remain essentially unchanged. However, as in the past, our dedicated staff continues to provide outstanding service. In response to feedback, the filing window hours were extended from a 2:00 p.m. closing to 3:00 p.m. to assist litigants. The Self Help Desk still maintains its 2:00 p.m. closing so the staff can help with the backlog.
I can’t believe another year has passed and it is time to write a new report about Juvenile Court.
From its opening in November 2010 to the present, the Arnason Justice Center (AJC) has been expanding the public’s access to court services while maintaining the court’s commitment to the delivery of justice and service to the public. Judge Spanos, Judge White and Judge Hardie join Commissioners Houghton, Huffaker, Richards, and me as we hear all of the East County Felony preliminary hearings (PXs), Misdemeanor Jury Trials, Family law matters, Domestic Violence cases, Small Claims cases and appeals, Traffic cases, Unlawful Detainer matters, and both Juvenile Dependency and Delinquency cases.
This year has been very busy at the George Carroll Courthouse in Richmond. Judges Peter Berger, Ed Weil, Joni Hiramoto, and our newest, Christopher Bowen, join Commissioner Broughton and me as we hear all of the West County Felony Preliminary Hearings, Misdemeanor Jury Trials, Small Claims and Appeals, Traffic and Domestic Violence cases, Unlawful Detainers and both Juvenile Dependency and Delinquency cases.
The Walnut Creek branch of the Contra Costa Superior Court (formerly the Walnut Creek-Danville Municipal Court before consolidation of Municipal and Superior Courts in 1997), consists of three Judges: Supervising Judge William Kolin, Judge Bruce Mills and Judge Harlan Grossman, and one Commissioner, Joel Golub. The Walnut Creek branch handles all civil, criminal, traffic, and small claims matters originating in Walnut Creek, Danville, Alamo, Diablo, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga and San Ramon.
Buried in the back of your Standard California Codes (the Six-in-Two version) are the “Standards of Judicial Administration.” Tucked deep into the Standards is a provision entitled “The role of the judiciary in the community.” It tells us that “community outreach [i]s an official judicial function.”
The Superior Court is continuing to focus on technological solutions to maintain critical services to the public during the ongoing budget crisis. Staffing levels are at a minimum so automation and streamlined processes are essential to being successful in managing day to day operations. The following enhancements already implemented or planned for the upcoming year will help the court make it through these tough times.
As we enter fiscal year 2011-12, the judicial branch finds itself facing its third consecutive year of severe budget reductions. Fortunately for the public we serve, our Court Leadership decided to take a strategic approach to begin addressing its permanent budget reductions in fiscal year 2008-09. I am pleased to report that the Court has already permanently reduced its operating costs by the requisite $7.56 million in order to address the previous budget cuts that were imposed through fiscal year 2010-11, ending June 30, 2011.
If you’ve been around Martinez for a while, you may remember the opening of the Peter L. Spinetta Family Law Center in 2001. It was the first new addition to the patchwork of buildings that make up the Superior Court in downtown Martinez since the A.F. Bray Building was completed in 1988.
Court Scholarship Program awards scholarships to five rehabilitated criminal offenders.
On August 18, 2011 Barristers and Law Students mixed and mingled with CCCBA Board Members and Section Leaders at the Pyramid Alehouse in Walnut Creek. This unique opportunity allowed young and soon-to-be lawyers to network …