California Courts Monitor ‘Special Report’ Update now on stands and available for download

When we published our printed “Special Report” earlier this year, it detailed a court crisis facing a difficult season. Sometimes, it seemed that the looming cuts, coming after years of cuts, were mostly positioning for the ongoing state budget battle. In addition to our daily online offerings, we promised to update the print report at the end of summer, so that’s what we did, and it is now available in local coffee shops and newsstands or you can download it by clicking here

The takeaway? It was as bad, and sometimes worse, than expected. An environment of fear and insecurity only became more so. And we marveled at the number of people who would talk about courts issues, but only on condition we never name them. Think of that. These are people who are mostly afraid that judges — judges! — will actually punish them for voicing opposition. And some of those fearing retribution are lawyers.

In this Update, we have included more new material than we intended and highlighted one of our judicial profiles in a blatant attempt to show relevancy to a new audience — the national civil courts community. You can access the original here on our website or contact us directly at for a printed copy.

And let us also say Thank You for the warm reception and backroom briefings prompted by our coverage. Our pledge is to get better and that our mistakes will be those of the head, not the heart. 

Strong NBC Report Getting Some ‘Legs’ Online

Good news: The NBC San Francisco affiliate investigative report on the court backlog (see July 24 post below) is getting some increased attention online and the reporter, Stephen Stock, is continuing the conversation on Twitter. The Twitter conversation even includes some high-profile judges. 

Recent Tweets include “CA ct backlog: collection filings can take anywhere from 5 months to 32 months!!! depending on which court” and “court backlog DEFINITELY affects tenant/landlord disputes!

Stock and the “Bay Area Investigative Unit” took a look behind the usual reporting on numbers and “official voices” and reported on the stories of actual people. They highlighted a mother who has been waiting for her day in court for three years – over custody of her children. 

This is the first story we have re-noticed here, and if you check it out you’ll see why. See it here (and note that the written text leaves out some of the good parts from the video; they are slightly different).