Judicial Council Planning Open Meeting, Will Stream Talks

They will call it “historic” this week as the state’s Judicial Council holds an actual public meeting that’s even set for streaming over the Internet. The Monterey Herald is among those heralding the event, calling it “… part of a broader effort to increase transparency in the state’s Judicial Council, which sets policy for the country’s largest court system and has been criticized for keeping its committee meetings and even agendas out of the public eye. A ruling defining the extent of public access to the council’s meetings is expected in coming months.” Increased public involvement was thought by many to be part of a deal that increased courts funding, but Gov. Brown apparently removed such provisions from the final budget.
Like every other California county, Monterey has court issues. Along with operational cuts, the raid on construction funds meant that $49 million worth of improvements, including “… three courtrooms in a 47,200-square-foot building; moving Salinas Valley civil suits to the facility; and adding a self-help center, a jury assembly room, children’s waiting room, holding cells, an alternative dispute resolution center, attorney interview rooms and witness waiting rooms” were “delayed.” 
The Herald also quotes Judge Laurie Earl, a Sacramento judge and co-chair of the Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee, as saying that “The process of deciding how taxpayer money will be distributed to the trial courts for the benefit of the public is an appropriate topic for an open meeting.” Tuesday’s meeting will include discussion of how to allocate this year’s $9.2 million in prisoner realignment funds for the courts, and how to pay for an increased workload that began this week as local courts take over state parole revocations.
Read the story here.