L.A. Presiding Judge: Expectations Not Met

There is more news from Presiding Judge David Wesley over the new state budget. The Metropolitan News-Enterprise is reporting on an email Judge Wesley sent to judicial officers saying that “… we are very disappointed in the level of support provided to the trial courts” and “… we had developed reasonable expectations, based upon our interactions with legislators, that we would find ourselves with additional resources with which to begin rebuilding our Court. Those expectations were not met.”
According to the MetNews, Judge Wesley explained that of the $223 million appropriated to the judicial branch, $40 million is for courthouse construction, $7 million for the appellate courts, $15 million for collaborative courts, $43 million for already-incurred expenses for employee benefit cost increases, and $30 million will go toward backfilling an expected revenue shortfall statewide.
“Only $86 million is scheduled for trial court operations—and even that amount will be reduced because the funding amounts for benefit cost increases and for revenue shortfalls are likely to be insufficient, with the gap made up out of funding for operation,” the judge explained.

Presiding Judge: Justice Rationing To Continue

Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge David Wesley say the just-passed California budget will not require additional staff reductions, but will also not replace previous cutbacks. The judge is being quoted in published reports saying that “… the California courts have suffered five years of reductions in state funding, and many courts have reduced their workforces by as much as one-quarter, with no lessening of their statutory and constitutional obligations. We are being forced to ration access to justice.
He added that “… people trying to do the right thing and pay a traffic ticket, find themselves stymied by long lines and antiquated technology… crime victims, and the law enforcement officers acting as witnesses in their cases, are burdened with long travel times because the local courthouse was closed.”