State Chamber President Backs Court Funding

Allan Zaremberg is president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. Photo from Sacramento Bee report of 5/22/14.

Allan Zaremberg is president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. Photo from Sacramento Bee report of 5/22/14.

The president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce has added a business voice to the call for a fully funded court system, calling courts “vital” to the state’s economy and a key part of innovation and job creation. In an opinion piece published in The Sacramento Bee, Allan Zaremberg first notes the funding needs in education and health care then adds “… not so obvious, however, is an appropriate level of funding for California’s courts, a cornerstone of our constitution and democracy.”

The support is, of course, part of gathering pro-court voices in advance of the June 15 California budget deadline. Along with setting out key talking points, it also reminds lawmakers that business interests have a stake in how courts function. Read the comments here.

Pandora’s Box: Dems Should Pay Close Attention to Victims Facing Asbestos Perjury Claims

Sara Warner, publisher of the California Courts Monitor, has a national Huffington Post column outlining how a North Carolina bankruptcy case might uncover enough scandal to become a Democratic political liability. In particular, she says the legal system is thinking in terms of “claimants” instead of thinking in terms of “victims.” She even calls for a Senate investigation. <a href=”” target=”_blank”>See the story here.</a>

MetNews Continues Judicial Election Profiles

One candidate refused to discuss a “not qualified” finding and the other came under fire for her performance in a spousal abuse case where a husband was released from custody and killed his wife. Both of those candidates are profiled as The Metropolitan News Enterprise continues its coverage of the June 3 primary election that will pick several new Los Angeles Superior Court judges. reports Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Emma Castro is running become a Los Angeles Superior court Judge in a primary scheduled for June 3, 2014. reports Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Emma Castro is running become a Los Angeles Superior court Judge in a primary scheduled for June 3, 2014.

In one race, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Emma Castro is running against Deputy District Attorney Joan M. Chrostek, and the MetNews reports that “… Castro was found ‘not qualified’ for a judgeship by the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation—something she refuses to discuss. A Los Angeles County Bar Association Judicial Elections Evaluation Committee subcommittee this month adjudged her “qualified” and she has opted not to appeal.”

 The report also reports of her opponent “… Chrostek, who was taken to task in a 2008 report by her office for deficient performance in a spousal abuse case—which culminated in a husband with dangerous propensties being released from custody and proceeding to slay his wife—is presently appealing a JEEC rating of ‘not qualified.’” Read the story and follow the profiles here.

L.A. Judge Eyed For District Appeals Court

The MetNews is reporting today that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lee S. Edmon is among those being considered for appointment to this district’s Court of Appeal. The report notes that she has been a Superior Court judge since 2000, when she was appointed by then-Gov. Gray Davis.
The MetNews has been on top of the Appeals Court judicial appointments and has previous reported “… that U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins, Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Sanjay T. Kumar and Brian Hoffstadt, and Southwestern Law School professor Christopher Cameron are under consideration for appointment to the Court of Appeal. There are currently four vacancies in this district, with two more scheduled to occur by the end of February.”
Judge Edmond has served in several capacities, including Presiding Judge, and was appointed to the Judicial Council of California in June 2008. The MetNews said she did not respond to a request for comment. Read the story here

Happy New Year!

The California Courts Monitor will resume regular posts on Monday, January 6th.


CCM staff

CCM Publisher Takes Views To Huffington Post

Sara Cocoran Warner, Founding Publisher of the California Courts Monitor

Sara Cocoran Warner, founding publisher of the California Courts Monitor website, has taken her views on rationing justice to The Huffington Post. In two recent posts, she outlines dramatic predictions after a Los Angeles Superior Court “reorganization” closed a juvenile court facility and what it means that some cases get priority over others.

You can see her HuffPo posts here:


Bay Area Conference Offers Rare Debate Insight

By Sara Warner

CCM Publisher

In the insular world of civil justice legal conferences, you usually end up surrounded by either the “defense” or “plaintiffs” side of the ledger. It can lead to a false sense of consensus, with everyone agreeing on the basic goodness and obvious common sense of their arguments.

That’s why the recent Perrin Conference in San Francisco was so very different. Officially billed as a “national overview” of asbestos-centered litigation, it nonetheless offered plenty of focus on California and benefited greatly by the participation of actual real-life judges. It’s not unprecedented for such events to include the judicial branch, but their presence is rare and seemed significant when both sides of the issues were in full debate.

[Read more…]

Golden State Sets Negative Example For Small Claims

California is being increasingly seen as a national “leader” in the negative implications of court budget cuts, and a recent NPR story focused on the small claims system. Calling small claims a “workhorse,” NPR explained that they “… were created in the mid-20th century to allow people to resolve monetary disputes that are small in the greater scheme of things but huge to people of limited means.
This AP photo is part of the NPR reporting on the court funding crisis.

This AP photo is part of the NPR reporting on the court funding crisis.

The network also noted how the courts work: “… they’re unique in how efficient they are. Defendants and plaintiffs don’t need a lawyer and judges usually make their rulings on the spot, often in 30 minutes or less.” But the report focuses on a charter fishing boat owner who has been dealing with a bad check case for months. The problem is that his court, in Stockton, hasn’t set a trial date for ANY small claims cases since September, and it has not target for resuming setting trial dates.
The report includes noting the problems in Los Angeles. It’s worth a read, if only to remind ourselves that the Golden State is fast becoming a national leader in negative court news. Read it, or listen to it, here

Newest ‘Good News’ Budget? Not For Justice System

The latest draft of Gov. Brown’s budget, called a “good news” budget by some media because of increased revenues from a statewide tax increase approved last November and the improving economy, is less than good for the state’s justice system. The Associated Press and others are still developing their analysis, but the courts funding seems locked in at previous-year spending.
Governor Brown's latest budget draft may not be 'good news' for judicial system

Governor Brown’s latest budget draft less than ‘good news’ for justice system

Says the AP: “[Although]… plagued by downsized staffs, service reductions and darkened courtrooms due to bone-deep budget cuts over recent years, ‘the judiciary is getting the same amount of money they were given the year before,’ Brown said. The courts will have to struggle to contain growing costs without any receiving any new resources, he added.”
Here’s a breaking budget story from the San Jose Mercury News

High-Profile Courts Lawsuit Tossed By Feds

That high-profile federal lawsuit against California court closings and cutbacks has been dismissed, the plaintiffs announced. The Coalition for Economic Survival, one of the leaders among several groups bringing the lawsuit that included the state ACLU, said a federal court judge ruled the national government has no right to intercede in state court matters; it’s called the “abstention doctrine.”
The group added the the federal judge “… felt strongly that this was an issue that should go to either state court or the Federal Court of Appeals. But, he did not rule on the merits of our case. As a result, there is strong determination by teh attorneys and plaintiffs to continue on.”
The ruling was dated March 18. See the CES report on the organization’s website here.