The Arnason Justice Center’s (AJC’s) current bench officers include Judge George Spanos, Judge Rebecca Hardie, Judge Cheryl Mills and Commissioners Steve Houghton, and Lowell Richards, as we hear all of the East County Felony 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.
Sadly, this past year we lost a valuable member of the Pittsburg bench, Family Law Commissioner Jeffrey Huffaker. His wonderful demeanor and strong work ethic have been sorely missed, and our branch is not the same without him.
In terms of assignments, we converted our matrix to a Master Calendar system, so that all trials, preliminary hearings, and motions are handled in Master Calendar as well as assigned to available departments. Additionally, the workload in both misdemeanor and felony cases in the Pittsburg branch has increased substantially, particularly in the area of felony filings. However, all filings are increasing. (The following numbers reflect actual cases on calendar).
For example, in May 2012 we had 2,214 cases pending; in June 2012, we had 2,619 cases pending; and in July 2012, we had 2,432 cases pending.
Our clerk’s office, headed by Court Administrator Cyndi Mlack, continues to work at capacity and with remarkable efficiency. Clearly, our dedicated clerks deserve kudos for processing the ever-increasing volume of work facing this branch. Our matrix of assignments, which will be subject to change next year, due to upcoming budgetary issues, is currently the following:
- Master Calendar hears and assigns out Felony preliminary hearings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while “special unit” or lengthy hearings are held in Master Calendar on Monday, Thursdays, and Fridays.
- Master Calendar assigns out misdemeanor trials on Mondays and Thursdays.
- Unlawful Detainer cases are heard Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays at 2:30 p.m.
- Domestic Violence Restraining Orders are heard Thursdays at 1:30 p.m.
- Master Calendar hears and assigns out Criminal Law and Motion on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m.
- Traffic matters are heard Monday- Friday at 8:30 a.m. except for the second and fourth Mondays of each month when they are heard from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Small claims cases are heard Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 1:15 p.m.
- Small claims appeals are heard on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m.
- Juvenile Dependency matters are heard Mondays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m., and Juvenile Delinquency cases are heard Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8:30 a.m.
FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR WORKSHOPS
The AJC’s Family Law Facilitator workshops are held on Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. in the Law Library (October 18, 2012 will be the last workshop in Pittsburg). The workshops assist people who do not have attorneys to handle their divorce, child custody and visitation, and child and spousal support, and paternity cases specifically the FLF can help either party to:
- Prepare the filings to obtain or modify child and/or spousal support orders;
- Prepare the filings to obtain or modify child custody and visitation orders;
- Respond to divorce, custody, support or paternity actions;
- Run computer-generated child and spousal support calculations;
- Prepare Orders After Hearings and Wage Assignments;
- File motions to establish paternity.
There are no appointments for these services, but the Facilitator’s objective is to meet with everyone as quickly as possible. Persons wishing to use these services are requested to bring all court papers and proof of current income where necessary (e.g., tax returns, W-2s, 1099s, and three recent pay stubs).
BAY AR EA LEGA L AID – Free Legal Clinics
Legal assistance is available for eviction cases and for domestic violence restraining orders. The Domestic Violence Restraining Order Clinic provides assistance on Tuesdays, from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. at the AJCs Self Help Legal Center.
The Housing Law Clinic is designed for low-income persons needing assistance in eviction cases. The clinic operates on Wednesdays, from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. and Fridays, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the AJCs Self Help Legal Center.
Filed Under: Spotlight