2018 California Legislative Agenda
CJE is hard at work in the California State Capitol to pass child-safety legislation and to push for judicial accountability. Here is a list of bills we are supporting, and we urge you to contact your state lawmakers to request their support of this important legislation as well.
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 2044 will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tues. April 3rd, so we welcome our supporters to please join us in Sacramento to weigh in on this important bill.
AB 2354– Asm. Blanca Rubio, which 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 will be heard in the Appropriations Committee.
2018 U.S. Congressional Agenda
H. CON. RES. 72 ~ Child Safety in Family Courts
After years of collaborative national work to bring this to fruition, and because of the dogged persistence of our close allies at the California Protective Parents Association and DV LEAP, we now have a Child Safety Resolution in the United States Congress. Check out the press release about H. Con. Res. 72, our bipartisan Child Safety Resolution from Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). CJE’s child murder data has been a huge driver in generating bipartisan support for this resolution.
Now is the time to act. 2018.
Please contact your Member of Congress, schedule an in-person meeting with their District staff, and urge them to add their name to the growing list of Democratic and Republican co-sponsors. Contact the Center for Judicial Excellence for talking points.
California Commission on Judicial Performance
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 more than 56 years.
The CJP lawsuit has effectively stopped the State Auditor in her tracks, keeping her from doing the critical oversight work that the Legislature asked her to do to safeguard the public. The Center for Judicial Excellence led the successful statewide lobbying effort to convince the JLAC to audit the CJP in August 2016, and we have been monitoring this situation ever since.
Fast forward more than a year and a half. Both sides “lawyered up,” hearings were held at the San Francisco Superior Court, and a sitting judge (not surprisingly) ruled that the CJP’s judicial discipline records can remain “confidential” and tucked away from the Auditor’s team. The wheels of justice and accountability have practically ground to a halt, while the Auditor’s legal team prepares to appeal the trial court decision (which is posted at the top of this article).
Californians in every court in the state will remain unprotected from biased, unethical and problematic judges for many months or years, as the legal appeals process gradually unfolds at a snail’s pace. Meanwhile, California taxpayers are paying for all of it- we are on the hook to pay for the inept CJP, for the State Auditor, and for the legal teams for both agencies. The Judicial Branch of California is wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in a brazen attempt to avoid scrutiny and oversight. But do not fret, we are working with state legislators who aim to hold the CJP accountable. More on that when we are able to share details.