Inside: Guest Editor’s Column

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Kiri Torre

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.

This edition also highlights our new Children’s Waiting Room for court litigants, which will open shortly at the new Arnason Justice Center in Pittsburg. The Court is very proud to offer this critical service for litigants, especially during a time of economic crisis. This program is funded solely with dedicated civil filing fees.

The Court’s top-level Information Technology Director retired and a new recruitment is underway to fill this key position which will enable the Court to implement technology projects that will enhance operational efficiency and will help to mitigate the significant loss of staff positions we have experienced. This edition includes an article that will recap recently
implemented technology projects and preview new technology initiatives to follow.

2011 was the third full year of significant economic challenges facing the California Judicial Branch and our court in particular. These challenges have left our Court with a 30% loss of staff since fiscal year 2008- 09. In this issue, we describe how the Court’s strategic budget approach has positioned the Court to more effectively weather these mandated budget reductions. This approach has allowed the Court to remain financially
solvent while managing these deep ongoing cuts. Fortunately, the adopted state budget did not include mandated Court Closure days, as was the case in 2010.

The Court truly appreciates its strong partnership with the Contra Costa County Bar Association and the local bar and is very pleased to share information of interest to the magazine’s readers.

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