Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Open Board of Directors Meeting
San Bernardino Justice Center
247 West Third St., San Bernardino
Present: Dimitrios Alexiou, Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Ken Coate, Bill Easley, Ron Griffin, Dick Hart, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, John Mirau, Tom Nightingale, Steve PonTell, Brian Reider, Susan Rice, Paul Shimoff, Phil Waller, Kim Wilcox, and Ray Wolfe.
Guests: Ted Alejandre, Bob Kreiger, Jay Obernolte, Ken Stream, Gary Thomas and Matt Webb.
Judge Marsha Slough conducted a tour of the new San Bernardino Justice Center. This state of the art facility opened in May 2014 and is beautiful inside and out. They currently have ten empty court rooms that are ready for use once funding for judgeships is successful.
Justice Miller and Judge Slough expressed gratitude to the Inland Action group for their successful legislative advocacy regarding increased court funding.
Judge Marsha Slough introduced Associate Justice Douglas Miller.
Justice Miller has served the Inland Empire since moving here in 1978. He has been a Judge or Justice for the last 19 years and is passionate about the Inland Empire and improving the court system here.
The allocation of resources is not equal between the 58 county court systems in California. San Bernardino County is one of the most under-funded, based on the county size and population. In the Inland area, the workload and demographics have grown dramatically but the funding had not been adjusted until recently.
Riverside and San Bernardino counties are vast in geographical size, which dramatically impacts the residents in court closures. Everyone should have access to the court system, which allows all parties to have a voice and a place to resolve disputes.
Justice Miller outlined the structure and functions of the Supreme, Appellate and Superior courts. He also explained the procedures of budgeting and funding of these courts.
California has a Judicial Council that was created in 1926 by an amendment to the state Constitution. The Council was designed to ensure the consistent, independent, impartial and accessible administration of justice. The Judicial Council is the rule-making arm of the California court system. They have no constituency and must maintain a state-wide view. The Judicial Council is comprised of 21 voting members:
- The Chief Justice
- 14 judicial officers appointed by the Chief Justice (1associate justice of the Supreme Court, 3 justices of the Courts of Appeal, 10 trial court judges)
- 4 attorneys-members appointed by the State Bar Board of Trustees
- 1 member form each house of the legislature
- 2 non-voting members who are court administrators
There is a long history of underfunding courts in the Inland Empire. Now more than ever strong and continued efforts must be made by traditional advocates, attorneys and their clients and groups like Inland Action to continue to rectify this.
A Q & A period followed.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.