L.A. Moves To Disassemble Part Of ‘School-To-Prison Pipeline’

As the nation watches racially heated events in Ferguson, Missouri unfold, the city of Los Angeles is going about disassembling what critics have called its “schools-to-prison” pipeline, ending policies that turned school issues into police issues. But the move is also a consequence of reduced juvenile court capacity, according to an official quoted in a New York Times article.
According to the NYT: “Michael Nash, the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Courts, who was involved in creating the new policies, said that the juvenile justice system was overtaxed, and that the changes would ensure that the courts were dealing only with youngsters who ‘really pose the greatest risk to the community.'”
The NYT also reported that “… students 14 years old and under received more than 45 percent of the district’s 1,360 citations in 2013, according to the [Labor/Community] Strategy Center [a civil rights group] African-American students, who account for about 10 percent of the total population, received 39 percent of “disturbing the peace” citations, typically given for fights.” At one time, police in the program were issuing arrest citations for showing up late to school, a practice terminated in 2012.

Interpreter Dispute: Hundreds Protest Across 7 Counties

More than 900 interpreters across seven Central California counties picketed this week to raise awareness about ongoing negotiations between the union for interpreters and the Administrative Office of the Courts, the management arm of the state judicial system, according to various media reports.
While gone more than a half-decade without a pay raise is noted, the core of the issue is another “outsourcing” cost-cutting plan. The idea is to use “centralized” remote video interpreting. This would often replace humans who make $35 per hour. They are paid by the state, but via the court system. The Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper explained that “… video remote interpreting uses video cameras, computers and an interpreter in a remote location to translate rather than having a live interpreter in court.” The paper cited a union spokesperson explaining that “… there is concern from interpreters that the video service would violate the right to due process and compromise attorney client privilege.” 
The talks continue today (Friday, Nov. 22) and there’s no speculation yet if other unions might join in any further actions. Read the Sentinel story here.

Gov’s Appointment of South Asian Woman Makes Superior Court History

It’s making the rounds that Gov. Jerry Brown’s July 12 appointment of a South Pasadena resident to the L.A. Superior Court made a bit of history. Rupa S. Goswami, 46, is the first South Asian American woman ever named to the California judiciary, according to multiple sources.
The new judge has worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California since 2001. She fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gary E. Daigh. While Superior Court judges are elected, most begin service via a governor’s appointment and few face serious political challenges after they are appointed.
There’s a good profile on the historic move at the India West news website: Read more here!

Report: ‘Sad State’ Of Courts Will Boost Arbitration

While noting that non-court arbitration has often been seen as anti-consumer, a report in the member-run news organization Voice of San Diego lays out a good argument that ongoing court cuts will boost the practice. It also cites a recent study noting that formerly routine business collection practices can take up to a year, making it difficult to do business in counties hard-hit by court delays.
“Historically, we have seen that people who want to tilt the playing field in their favor will use delay in the trial courts as a justification for that,” one official told the website. “It has less resonance where cases get to trial efficiently and quickly as they had up until this latest round of five years of budget cuts.”
We have already heard that justice system administrators are urging a “settle the case” approach to ease strain on the diminished system, and certainly arbitration is part of that rationing strategy. This is a good, balanced look at how that’s starting to play out: Read Here