Minutes from October 15, 2013 Open Meeting-Judge Slough SB Courts

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

 Open Board of Directors Meeting 

 San Bernardino Community College District

114 S. Del Rosa Drive

 San Bernardino, CA 92408


Present:  Dimitrios Alexiou, Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Ann Bryan, Ken Coate, Scott Hofferber, Bill Easley, Scott Hofferber, Lowell King, Ed Lasak, Bill Lemann, Temetry Lindsey, John Mirau, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Steve von Rajcs, Phil Waller, and Ray Wolfe.

Guests:  Tony Grasso, Pam Langford, Sheriff John McMahan  

Announcements: 1) Members were asked to please consider joining the Inland Action sponsored Business Coalition for Express Lanes and to participate in the luncheon program Decision Time Ahead: Tolls, Carpools or Congestion that will be held on Wednesday, November 6, 2013.  Detailed information was e-mailed last week.  2) The California Apartment Association has been proposed for membership.  This is the second announcement and a vote will take place at the next Inland Action meeting.   

M/S/P: Minutes from October 8, 2013 

John Mirau introduced Presiding Judge Marsha Slough, San Bernardino County Superior Court. 

Judge Slough assumed the Office of the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of San Bernardino County in September of last year.  Since then she has been working diligently to acquire funding and reduce the $22 million dollar deficit in our county courts.   

The courts in California have experienced cuts in funding for the past 5 years.  The reductions in San Bernardino County total a whopping 20%.  In order to maintain services, our county courts had been spending down their reserves (totaling $39 million) to bridge the gap.  Reserves were created over decades when they were able to save monies thru prudent spending.  Last year, however, the Governor’s office took ½ of their reserves to reallocate to all other courts.  Thankfully, this year the Governor has put $60 million towards California’s trial courts.  San Bernardino’s allocation will be $3 million.  This year’s deficit will be $1.5 million, reduced through court closures, efficiencies, and increased state funding.    

Now unable to maintain services, San Bernardino county courts worked on a balanced approach to reduce spending.  They have laid-off staff and shifted case loads, resulting in the closure of courts in Chino, Needles and Big Bear Lake.  One department in Barstow remains open for 3 days a week.  The staff for San Bernardino County courts is now 860 when it should total some 1,500.  Our county courts will undergo further reorganization including consolidating all civil cases to the San Bernardino courthouse, traffic cases to Fontana and family law and violent crimes to Rancho Cucamonga.   

The California Judicial Council decides on the allocation formula for all of the 58 California County Courts.  Judge Slough commented that the formula, which has been used since 1995, is out of date.  It is not in touch with the changed population density and should be based on a work load allocation.  Some counties have been identified as having ½ the case load and receiving the same level of funding as San Bernardino. Others with the same case load receive twice as much funding, due to the antiquated funding formula. A revision of the state court funding formula adopted in April will be introduced over 5 years and will gradually boost allocations for both San Bernardino and Riverside counties.    

Judge Slough is looking at expediting processes and is looking at programs where you can complete and e-fax file domestic violence forms online, much like what Riverside offers.  Additionally she will review Fresno’s experiment with traffic hearings by remote video for those with long traveling distances.   

She expressed gratitude for the advocacy that Inland Action provided regarding court funding earlier this year and asked for the groups’ assistance to push for funding of the 7 judge positions previously authorized but never funded.   


A Q & A period followed. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.