Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, THEY DID!!! 2012-2013 has been and will be a year of tremendous change resulting from our loss of millions of dollars from our operating budget, which, in turn, adversely impacts every aspect of every service we provide to the community.
It has been necessary to further reduce staff, further reduce hours which the Clerk’s Office is open, further decrease services to attorneys, litigants and the public in general, despite the most parsimonious, prudent management of the Court by the Presiding and Assistant Presiding Judges and the Executive Committee (including accumulating a reserve fund for emergencies which was “swept” by the state). All this causes a trickle down effect, and there necessarily will be interminable delays in getting matters heard in law and motion, discovery and trials.
Effective November 2, 2012, our stalwart and much appreciated Civil Commissioner, Judith Sanders, after more than 20 years of dedicated service, will no longer be with us. All of her work will be divided among the Civil Judges.
Effective January 1, 2013, there will be a reduction in the number of judges in the Civil Division to a total of 4. Judge Barry Goode will become the Presiding Judge of the Court. Judge Judith Craddick will move to Complex Litigation and will continue to be the Civil Supervising Judge. Judges Laurel Brady, Steven Austin and David Flinn will remain in Civil to complete the roster. The caseload of 5 judges will be divided among those 4 remaining (as well as Commissioner Sanders’ work mentioned above). In addition, the 4 remaining Civil judges will divide the Small Claims and Unlawful Detainer cases transferred from Walnut Creek and Concord.
We are in the process of developing calendars to accommodate these new duties as well as our “regular” ones. New Court Rules are also in the process of being formulated to cover the numerous changes being made. As soon as we are able, we will ask that this information be published to keep you informed.
Another significant change is the upcoming loss of part of our court family – court reporters. Beginning January 2, 2013, parties desiring a transcript will be required to arrange for private reporting services for all short and long cause matters, excluding those heard in the Complex Litigation department.
We are grateful to our staff for the tremendous effort they are making to not become totally overwhelmed by the workload. We are also appreciative of the understanding of attorneys and litigants to whom we will continue to strive to give the best service possible under the circumstances.
The bright spot is the generosity and willingness of members of our Bar who volunteer hours of their time serving on our ADR mediation, arbitration, neutral case evaluation and settlement mentor programs. Our attorneys are again stepping up to the plate and suggesting additional ways in which they may help. Your CCCBA continues to implement educational and other programs which tremendously benefit the entire community and Court.
Filed Under: Spotlight