Magazine Explains Why All Those Educations Cases Happen

See you in court. (Monica Almeida, Pool/AP Photo)

See you in court. (Monica Almeida, Pool/AP Photo)

U.S. News and World Report has a new opinion piece from Andrew Rotherham, a cofounder and partner at the non-profit Bellwether Education Partners, about why so much of education reform ends up in the courtroom. After outlining several high-profile cases, he explains that “… on the courthouse steps you can say pretty much whatever you want. Inside the courtroom, there are rules and process. Clever and fiery sound bites from a press conference will get you in trouble in front of a judge. If the evidence is on your side, the courtroom is often more fertile ground than the political arena.”

He also notes that “… it’s remarkable how many issues that are generally settled in terms of the research evidence remain incredibly live political debates. Courtrooms mitigate the problem.”

It’s a really solid good “think piece” and you can find it here.

Pushback, Frustration Mounts Against Slow Court Dockets

It will take a bit more time before the most recent civil court budget courts, and their resulting delays, become a routine part of lawsuit strategy. But, already you can see where people seeking their day in court are becoming increasingly frustrated – to the point of one attorney holding press conferences and citing a landmark NBC3 investigative report by Stephen Stock (see previous posts) to make his point.
The Michael Rooney law office, in an apparent Redwood City civil lawsuit between individuals, even issued a press release over a popular distribution network recently and scheduled a press conference on the courthouse steps – just to demand a case get a trial date. In the statement, the budget cuts are noted and the argument is made that people abusing the courts can “…further exploit the Courts’ apparent inability to handle cases by using every trick to delay their victims’ right to justice, while making themselves judgment-proof before a jury renders a judgment against them, once again outsmarting the legal system that they have abused for years.”
The NBC3 report comes into play (and you can bet it will again) by noting “… as San Mateo County Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert Foiles, recently stated in an interview by NBC3 Reporter, Stephen Stock: “justice delayed is justice denied… and we’re delaying justice!”
You can check out the PR Newswire release here.

Drop In Civil Cases Tracks With Budget Cuts

A new report showing a decline in civil cases is sure to fuel debate over cause and effect. Do reduced court hours, long lines, years-long waits for trials and increased fees reduce our tendency to seek justice, or are we just finally getting along better? The Judicial Council creates the state-mandated report annually, but this is the first one to be made public.
The Courthouse News Service, in a story by Maria Dinzeo, says we’ve seen a “steady decline in civil and lesser criminal filings over the last 10 years, coinciding with the decrease in funds for court operations and police departments, according to statistics presented to the state’s Judicial Council.” The CNS adds that “Judges on the council seemed concerned that the filing information published without analysis could be used against the courts, in a time when the judiciary is working to restore funding and educate lawmakers about court workloads.”
“You can see over this 10-year trend a steady increase in statewide filings up to almost an historic point above 10 million filings just before the budget cuts hit the branch. Then you see a decreasing trend over the last several years of ongoing cuts,” says a researcher with the Administrative Office of the Courts.
These are the kinds of numbers that will be used by both sides of the funding debates. Check out the CNS story here.