The Alliance of California Judges today issued its recommendations for dealing with the judiciary’s budget cuts, and as you might expect, the Administrative Office of the Courts is the primary target.
“The Judicial Council and Administrative Office of the Courts must bear the lion’s share of reductions to the extent possible,” Alliance directors wrote in a letter to judges statewide. “That is the only remaining source available without decimating the construction program and the trial courts.”
The Alliance recommends suspending development of the Court Case Management System, eliminating all but essential AOC operations, ending continuing judicial education in favor of local programs and halting numerous branch consulting contracts.
Branch leaders have not offered specifics on how they plan to deal with $350 million in budget cuts and the loss of $310 million in construction funds. A small group of judges and court executives have been discussing possible options behind closed doors.
Leaders of two committees representing presiding judges and court executives recently said in an email to their colleagues that there is widespread agreement in the branch that “courts should be given broad local discretion” about making changes to public services. The email also refers to a subcommittee that’s being formed to help the chief justice in “achieving funding restoration next fiscal year.”
The Judicial Council has delayed its scheduled budget hearing by one week to July 22.