Today's Law As Amended

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



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 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 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 based on a superior court’s assessed judicial need 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.
(2) If a judgeship in a superior court becomes vacant, the Judicial Council shall determine whether the judgeship is eligible for suspension under the standards and criteria described in paragraph (1). If the judgeship is eligible for suspension, the Judicial Council shall promptly notify the court with the vacant judgeship, the Legislature, and the Governor that the vacant judgeship 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.
(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.
(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.
(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.