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AB-414 Suspension and allocation of vacant judgeships.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/17/2017 04:00 AM
AB414:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 16, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 06, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 414


Introduced by Assembly Member Medina

February 09, 2017


An act to add Section 69614.6 to the Government Code, relating to judgeships.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 414, as amended, Medina. Suspension and allocation of vacant judgeships.
Existing law specifies the number of judges for the superior court of each county. Existing law allocates additional judgeships to the various counties in accordance with uniform standards for factually determining additional judicial need in each county, as updated and approved by the Judicial Council, pursuant to the Update of Judicial Needs Study, based on specified criteria, including, among others, workload standards that represent the average amount of time of bench and nonbench work required to resolve each case type.
This bill would require the suspension of 5 4 vacant judgeships, as defined, from superior courts with more authorized judgeships than their assessed judicial need and would require the allocation of 5 4 judgeships to superior courts with fewer authorized judgeships than their assessed judicial need. The bill would require the suspension to be in accordance with a methodology approved by the Judicial Council, as specified, and would require the determination of a superior court’s assessed judicial need to be in accordance with the above uniform standards and be based on the criteria described above. and allocation of judgeships to be based on a superior court’s assessed judicial need in accordance with the uniform standards described above. The bill would require the Judicial Council, if a vacant judgeship is eligible for suspension, to promptly notify the applicable courts, court with the vacant judgeship, the Legislature, and the Governor that the judgeship will be suspended. is subject to suspension, provide an adequate opportunity for public comment, and, after consideration of any comments received, determine if the vacant judgeship should be suspended. The bill would require the Judicial Council to promptly notify the court with the vacant judgeship, the Legislature, and the Governor of its decision regarding suspension of the judgeship. The bill would provide that a court in which a vacant judgeship is suspended will not have its funding allocation reduced or any of its funding shifted or transferred as a result of, or in connection with, the suspension of a vacant judgeship.
This bill would also make a statement of legislative intent regarding the authority of the Legislature, the Governor, and the Chief Justice of California.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 It is the intent of the Legislature that this act shall not be construed to limit any of the following:
(a) The authority of the Legislature to create and fund new judgeships pursuant to Section 4 of Article VI of the California Constitution.
(b) The authority of the Governor to appoint a person to fill a vacancy pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 16 of Article VI of the California Constitution.
(c) The authority of the Chief Justice of California to assign judges pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 6 of Article VI of the California Constitution.

SEC. 2.

 Section 69614.6 is added to the Government Code, to read:

69614.6.
 (a) To provide for a more equitable distribution of judgeships and upon notice to the applicable courts, five pursuant to the process set forth in subdivision (b), four vacant judgeships shall be suspended in superior courts with more authorized judgeships than their assessed judicial need and five four judgeships shall be allocated to superior courts with fewer authorized judgeships than their assessed judicial need.
(b) (1) The suspension of vacant judgeships and the allocation of judgeships pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be in accordance with a methodology approved by the Judicial Council after solicitation of public comments. The determination of based on a superior court’s assessed judicial need shall be in accordance with the uniform standards for factually determining additional judicial need in each county, as updated and approved by the Judicial Council, pursuant to the Update of Judicial Needs Study, based on the criteria set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 69614.

(c)

(2) If a judgeship in a superior court becomes vacant, the Judicial Council shall determine whether the judgeship is eligible for suspension under the methodology, standards, and criteria standards and criteria described in subdivision (b). paragraph (1). If the judgeship is eligible for suspension, the Judicial Council shall promptly notify the applicable courts, court with the vacant judgeship, the Legislature, and the Governor that the vacant judgeship shall be suspended. is subject to suspension, provide an adequate opportunity for public comment, and, after consideration of any comments received, determine if the vacant judgeship should be suspended. The Judicial Council shall promptly notify the court with the vacant judgeship, the Legislature, and the Governor of its decision regarding suspension of the judgeship.

(d)

(c) (1) For purposes of this section only, a judgeship shall become “vacant” when an incumbent judge relinquishes the office through resignation, retirement, death, removal, or confirmation to an appellate court judgeship during either of the following:
(A) At any time before the deadline to file a declaration of intention to become a candidate for a judicial office pursuant to Section 8023 of the Elections Code.
(B) After the deadline to file a declaration of intention to become a candidate for a judicial office pursuant to Section 8023 of the Elections Code if no candidate submits qualifying nomination papers by the deadline pursuant to Section 8020 of the Elections Code.
(2) For purposes of this section, a judgeship shall not become “vacant” when an incumbent judge relinquishes the office as a result of being defeated in an election for that office.

(e)

(d) For purposes of this section only, the “suspension” of a vacant judgeship means that the vacant judgeship may not be filled by appointment or election, notwithstanding any other law, unless an appropriation by the Legislature is made for the judgeship.

(f)

(e) A court in which a vacant judgeship is suspended shall not have its funding allocation reduced or any funding shifted or transferred as a result of, or in connection with, the suspension of a vacant judgeship pursuant to this section.