Minutes from April 12, 2016 Open Board Meeting-SB Co. Presiding Judge “Chip” Haight

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Open Board of Directors Meeting

 San Bernardino Community College District
114 S. Del Rosa Drive
San Bernardino, CA 92408



Present: Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Ann Bryan, Matt Buck, Ken Coate, Scott Davis, Louis Goodwin, Scott Hofferber, Erik Johnson, Mark Kaenel, Al Karnig, Lowell King, Bill Lemann, Sue McKee, John Mirau, Jan Remm, Kristine Scott and Paul Shimoff.

Guests: Robbie Broedow.

Announcements:  1) Mayor Carey Davis has extended an invitation to Inland Action members to attend the 2016 State of the City-New Beginnings. The event will be held on Friday, April 22, 2016 at the San Bernardino International Airport Domestic Terminal.  A reception will begin at 5p.m. and the program will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Please Rsvp by 4/10/16 to 909-384-5133. 2) Reservations for the Sacramento trip should be turned in by April 22, 2016.

M/S/P: Minutes from April 5, 2016

Paul Shimoff introduced Judge Raymond “Chip” Haight III, San Bernardino County, Presiding Judge.

The courts have experienced budget cuts for the last five years. In just three years they have had a 20% reduction causing them to close 15 courtrooms and cut their workforce by 15%. Funding however is changing with the new Workload-based Allocation Funding Model (WAFM) which began in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The WAFM is allocating the courts portion of state funding by accounting for drastic increases in county population and caseloads. The WAFM system, which is being phased in over a five year period, will help San Bernardino Superior Courts but there is still a large funding gap.

The Governor has made it apparent that he will not approve additional money for the judicial sector which makes up 1.4% of the state budget. Last year his veto of a unanimously approved bill by both the house and the senate to fund additional judgeships reinforced the message that he wants the courts to work with the funding they already have. Curiously after the Governor proposed reallocation of vacant judgeships he appointed 3 additional judges to counties that are considered to have an excess of judges. The Governor has promised to work to ensure that the distribution of judgeships better reflects workloads throughout the state, and the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 proposed budget provides for the move of five vacant judgeships and support staff to counties with the highest workloads.

Judge Haight summarized the Governor’s proposed budget which overall is viewed favorably by the courts. He expressed concern with the deficit and the dire need for new judgeships in both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, that now lack more than 50 judicial officers each. This greatly contrasts the surplus of judicial officers in Santa Clara (19) and Alameda Counties (14). The proposed budget would reallocate 5 judges who would be assigned to the neediest of counties.

Additionally there is real concern that there will be a reduction in future court revenues. Proposals have been made that would significantly reduce San Bernardino Superior Court’s $8 million portion of local fines and fees. Judges must now take into consideration the violator’s ability to pay so as to “stop punishing the poor for being poor”. Fee payments made over time offered to violators have mostly defaulted. The reduction in the many traffic fines, fees and penalties will affect some 20 different agencies such as Victim-Witness Assistance Fund, Restitution Fund, EMS State & County Fund, DNA ID Fund and Peace Officers Training Fund. Highlights of how the county has used increased funding are: Restoring services and access to the Court by reinstating courtrooms and service hours

  • Restored the Barstow courthouse to 2 full-time courtrooms
  • Reinstated Clerk’s Office and public telephone hours court wide to 4:00 p.m. (from 3:00 p.m. daily)
  • Improved access for Needles residents by reworking calendars to coincide with the new public transit option from Needles to Barstow and Victorville courthouses
  • Reinstated Self Help hours to 4:00 p.m. (from 3:00 p.m.)

Expanding services by adding courtrooms and hours, improving efficiency in resolving cases, and reorganizing operations

  • Increased the San Bernardino Historic Courthouse family law calendar to 10 judges, effectively adding two full-time family law calendars and reducing each judicial officer’s caseload by over 17%
  • Relocated and consolidated small claims, landlord-tenant, and infraction matters to Barstow to mirror efficiencies gained in the Fontana courthouse, allowing the Victorville courthouse to expand its operations to include three full-time family law courtrooms and six all-purpose criminal trial courtrooms
  • Expanded hours for the Self Help Resource Centers to open over the lunch hour
  • Added phone assistance hours and enhanced services in the Self Help Resource Centers by providing form sets via email, updating the Self Help webpage, and launching an internship program, which also created additional customer services
  • Created a stand-alone Probate Division with four dedicated Clerk’s Office windows

Promoting innovation to improve efficiency and access to the Court

  • Implemented new case management system for criminal and traffic, creating benefits for the bar and the public such as access to electronic files and e-filing, enhancements to portal access, and online payments
  • Installed jury kiosks in four courthouses to facilitate juror check-in
  • Provided an online conservatorship orientation program
  • Completed civil and family law scanning project, including scanning over 11 million pages, and began scanning criminal and traffic filings to facilitate availability of electronic files

Other court services

  • Amnesty program successfully implemented and 4,095 cases (from back to 1993) processed during the first three months
  • Developed procedures to process Prop 47 petitions
  • Exploring possible use for Video Remote Interpreting for other than Spanish interpreting services in outlying and remote courts

A Q & A period followed.

Meeting adjourned at 8:33 a.m.