Greater Budget Share for Trial Courts Debated in California

The California Judicial Council, which oversees state courts, voted to oppose a bill in the legislature that would give local trial courts a larger share of the overall state court budget.

Critics, including the chief lobbyist for the Administrative Office of the Courts, argued the bill interferes with the way the judicial branch governs itself, according to a Courthouse News Service article.

In a poll earlier this year, a majority of members belonging to the California Judges Association, a JAS partner group, backed the bill. The legislation also has the backing of the reformist Alliance of California Judges, which said in a recent report that California’s trial courts are “in crisis” and “the Legislature must act to protect our trial courts.”

While giving a larger budget share to trial courts, the bill “would starve funding for the powerful centralized bureaucracy of the courts,” according to Courthouse News Service.

A sharp impact on California courts is foreseen from budget cuts. Judges and court officers warned in earlier letters to Gov. Jerry Brown that the cuts would “render precarious our democratic ideal of justice for all” (see Gavel Grab).


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