February 11, 2021 - This publication examines the impacts of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and prior-year reductions on trial court operations. The publication also identifies issues for the Legislature to consider when determining the appropriate level of overall funding for trial court operations in 2021-22 and our analysis of three of the Governor’s major budget proposals for trial court operations.
March 12, 2021 - This publication provides our analysis of the Governor's 2021-22 budget proposals to authorize remote court proceedings.
February 3, 2022 - This publication provides our assessment and recommendations on the Governor’s 2022-23 budget proposals related to the judicial branch.
May 8, 2020 - In this post, we discuss actions the state and federal courts have taken with respect to state prisons, parole, and juvenile facilities due to the emergence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
April 13, 2012 - Over the last four years, the judicial branch has experienced various one–time and ongoing budget reductions as the state has faced large budget shortfalls. The Governor's 2012–13 budget continues the ongoing reduction to the branch, provides the Judicial Council with full authority to implement the reduction among branch entities, and proposes increasing civil fees to generate $50 million in new revenues to help the branch address their reduction. To the extent the Legislature approves the Governor's proposal, ongoing solutions should be identified and implemented in 2012–13, particularly since recent transfers and loans from branch special funds have greatly reduced the fund balances available as a potential budget solution. Specifically, we recommend the Legislature reject the Governor's proposed budget bill language authorizing the Judicial Council to allocate the reductions, adopt specific actions to achieve ongoing savings in the judicial branch, and require that the judicial branch submit a report on potential operational efficiencies.
October 6, 2021 - This post provides an overview of the major judiciary and criminal justice proposals approved as part of the 2021-22 budget package. The 2021‑22 budget provides $17.3 billion from the General Fund for judicial and criminal justice programs. This is an increase of $2.3 billion (15 percent) above the revised 2020‑21 spending level.
October 22, 2020 - This post provides an overview of the major judiciary and criminal justice proposals approved as part of the 2020-21 budget package. The 2020 21 budget provides $15.9 billion from the General Fund for judicial and criminal justice programs, including support for program operations and capital outlay projects. This is a decrease of $207 million, or 1.3 percent, below the revised 2019 20 spending level.
October 8, 2020 - This post describes the 2020-21 budget actions related to housing and homelessness issues.
September 28, 2011 - Historically, counties had the primary responsibility for (1) funding the trial courts, (2) constructing and maintaining court facilities, and (3) employing most court employees. However, beginning in 1997, the Legislature adopted a series of statutory changes that shifted or realigned each of these responsibilities from the counties to the state. The Legislature sought to create a trial court system that would be more uniform in terms of standards, procedures, and access to justice. Our analysis indicates, however, that a number of existing barriers have prevented the trial court realignment from fully achieving the expressed goals and objectives of the Legislature. We believe that the Legislature should seek to eliminate these barriers and provide the state with greater control and responsibility over trial courts. We recommend that the state assume true operational control over many critical aspects of trial court operations for which it already has financial responsibility, such as trial court employee classifications and benefits. We also propose that the state establish a comprehensive trial court performance assessment program and establish a more efficient division of responsibilities between the Administrative Office of the Courts and trial courts.