Calif. High Court To Stream Oral Arguments, Top Judge Says

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Law360, Los Angeles (March 8, 2016, 11:29 PM EST) — The California Supreme Court will start streaming oral arguments online in May, California’s top judge told state legislators during the annual State of the Judiciary address on Tuesday.
During her annual address to the members of the California Senate and Assembly, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said that as part of the state judiciary’s ongoing efforts to modernize its system, the high court would begin streaming oral arguments held in San Francisco, with streaming for Los Angeles planned later, the Associated Press reported.

Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s address was a detour from speeches in years past which lamented the lack of adequate funding due to the yearslong effects of the Great Recession, and instead highlighted recent efforts to streamline and modernize the state’s case management systems.

“We are a judiciary made leaner by the longest recession in California’s history, a judiciary that has not only endured but has changed for the good,” she said, according to a transcript of her speech.

In two short years, the high court justice touted, the state’s 58 trial courts went from using 40 different types of case management systems to just a handful today.

“These systems could not communicate with each other even in their own courts,” she said. “Now because of reinvestment dollars from you and the governor, the courts use many fewer types of case management systems, and 41 of the courts are now in various stages of updating their old systems.”

Looking ahead, Justice Cantil-Sakauye said the state’s court system needs to address the subject of “implicit bias,” or unconscious stereotypes can that affect attitudes, actions and beliefs.

“I urge you to join our efforts and contribute your own to elevate our collective consciousness and to raise our daily awareness about the role race plays in our justice system and in our society,” she said.

A spokesman for Justice Cantil-Sakauye did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday.

Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s speech, her fifth annual address, followed the more optimistic turn she began last year, which stood in stark contrast to the weary speeches of 2013 and 2014. Both of those speeches bemoaned the $1 billion in cuts that hit the state’s court system in the wake of the recession.

Her tune changed in January 2015, however, when Gov. Jerry Brown promised $3.7 billion for the state’s judicial branch, with about $2.7 billion of the total budget heading toward operations.

–Additional reporting by Daniel Siegal. Editing by Kelly Duncan.



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