April 2019 ~ California State Auditor Exposes Crisis at Commission on Judicial Performance in Long-Awaited Report
The 85-page report from the California State Auditor details how serious ongoing judicial misconduct has fallen through the cracks at the California Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP). The report affirms what we have recognized for years, and it provides a detailed roadmap toward increased accountability for California’s judicial branch. In order for change to happen, we now need leadership from brave legislators willing to push through a Constitutional Amendment to meaningfully reform the CJP and better protect the public from harm.
The Center for Judicial Excellence looks forward to working with lawmakers, our court reform allies and other stakeholders to better protect the public from the ongoing judicial misconduct that tragically destroys people’s lives in the Golden State on a daily basis. The first step is always to identify the crisis, which this investigation has so powerfully done. Now we can go about fixing it.
Thanks to everyone who played a role in this important milestone in judicial accountability reform.
Click here for a summary of the report: https://www.auditor.ca.gov/reports/2016-137/summary.html
Click here for the complete 85-page report: https://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2016-137.pdf
In August 2016, the California Legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) ordered the first-ever audit of the California Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP), the state’s only judicial oversight agency, due to a growing public outcry that the agency was not fulfilling its mission to protect the public from unethical judges. The CJP responded to the Legislature’s move two months later by suing the California State Auditor in an attempt to delay and thwart the first-ever audit of the agency in nearly 60 years.
For two years, the CJP lawsuit effectively stopped the State Auditor in her tracks, keeping her from doing the critical oversight work that the Legislature asked her to do to determine whether the CJP is effectively safeguarding the public from unethical judges. The Center for Judicial Excellence led the successful statewide lobbying effort to convince the JLAC to audit the CJP in August 2016, and we also led the effort in the Spring of 2018 to get the State Senate and Assembly to pass a $500K budget cut for the CJP that – while it was omitted from the Governor’s final budget – sent an important message to the CJP that they best cooperate, or the Legislature might yank their pursestrings in the future.
2018 U.S. Congressional Agenda Success
H. CON. RES. 72 ~ Child Safety in Family Courts~ Passes The House!
After years of collaborative national work to bring this to fruition, and because of the dogged persistence of CJE and our close allies at the California Protective Parents Association and DV LEAP, our Child Safety Resolution in the United States Congress passed the U.S. House of Representatives by unaimous consent with 86 bipartisan co-sponsors. Check out the initial press release about H. Con. Res. 72, our Child Safety Resolution from Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). CJE’s child murder data was a huge driver in generating bipartisan support for this resolution.
Watch the video on CSPAN:
2018 California Legislative Agenda- More Success!
CJE had a successful year in the California State Capitol on our child-safety legislation and our push for judicial accountability in the Budget Process. Here is the list of bills we supported that passed:
HR 113, or Piqui’s Resolution– Asm. Blanca Rubio states: 1) that all court-related professionals should be trauma-informed and trained in recognizing, evaluating, and understanding evidence and the impacts of domestic violence and child abuse; 2) that a court reporter should record all hearings in domestic violence and contested custody cases, and all litigants should have access to the court records; and 3) that when a child witnesses domestic violence or is injured or abused, family courts should ensure that the safety of the child has priority over all other considerations in any custody or visitation decision;
AB 2044– Asm. Mark Stone clarifies that child safety must remain a top priority in family law determinations of a child’s “best interest.”
AB 2354– Asm. Blanca Rubio mandates free court reporters in all family law and domestic violence cases, to ensure equal access to justice for all litigants, regardless of their income. This bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee and awaits action in the Appropriations Committee.