SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California Court Reporters Association President Early Langley issued the following statement in time for Lobby Day, May 22, 2012, in Sacramento: California's equal access to justice is a precious right that is under attack by those who are eliminating justice in favor of justice by the bureaucracy. It began in 2009 when the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) ordered courts closed one day per month for the first time in history.
This last week, after Gov. Jerry Brown issued his May Revise, more drastic cuts are on the table and more courts may be shuttered altogether. For those courts that are open in the civil sector, the guardian of the record, the Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR), will be missing, and the litigant will bear the cost of the privately-hired CSR, or face the risk of their rights lost to having no record at all.
The American Board of Trial Advocates vehemently opposes the elimination of court reporters in civil courtrooms. ABOTA Lawyer John C. Adams, III, cites, "No other form of recording … could possibly compare to the quality, accuracy and practical utility, i.e., read-backs during trial or jury deliberations, appellate transcripts, etc., as Certified Shorthand Reporter transcripts."
In the past 10 years, the staff of the AOC has swollen from less than 300 to more than 1,100 employees. Add to that their mismanaged, grossly overbudgeted multibillion dollar centralized computer system that was eventually scrapped, and you have a deeply compromised justice system at the expense of the public.
One vocal group, The Alliance of California Judges, which formed after the 2009 court closures, squarely places the blame for the current court chaos on the steps of the Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts. Steve White, a Sacramento judge and one of the group's leaders, urged the council Thursday to impose massive cuts on the administrative office before any further trial court cuts are approved.
CCRA supports The Alliance of California Judges' position to cut the AOC's budget before cutting the court's budget. Equal access to justice cannot be denied any further, and it is the AOC's budget that must make up the deficit.
SOURCE California Court Reporters Association (CCRA)