Code Section Group

Government Code - GOV

TITLE 8. THE ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT OF COURTS [68070 - 77655]

  ( Title 8 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 206. )

CHAPTER 5.1. Unification of Municipal and Superior Courts [70200 - 70219]

  ( Chapter 5.1 repealed and added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 931, Sec. 257. )

ARTICLE 2. Transitional Provisions for Unification [70210 - 70219]
  ( Article 2 added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 931, Sec. 257. )

70210.
  

The Judicial Council shall adopt rules of court not inconsistent with statute for:

(a) The orderly conversion of proceedings pending in municipal courts to proceedings in superior courts, and for proceedings commenced in superior courts on and after the date the municipal and superior courts in a county are unified.

(b) Selection of persons to coordinate implementation activities for the unification of municipal courts with superior courts in a county, including:

(1) Selection of a presiding judge for the unified superior court.

(2) Selection of a court executive officer for the unified superior court.

(3) Appointment of court committees or working groups to assist the presiding judge and court executive officer in implementing unification.

(c) The authority of the presiding judge, in conjunction with the court executive officer and appropriate individuals or working groups of the unified superior court, to act on behalf of the court to implement unification.

(d) Preparation and submission of a written personnel plan to the judges of a unified superior court for adoption.

(e) Preparation of local court rules necessary to facilitate the orderly conversion of proceedings pending in municipal courts to proceedings in superior courts, and for proceedings commenced in superior courts on and after the date the municipal and superior courts in a county are unified. These rules shall, on the date the municipal and superior courts in a county are unified, be the rules of the unified superior court.

(f) Other necessary activities to facilitate the transition to a unified superior court.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 931, Sec. 257. Effective September 28, 1998.)

70211.
  

When the municipal and superior courts in a county are unified:

(a) The judgeships in each municipal court in that county are abolished and the previously selected municipal court judges become judges of the superior court in that county. Until revised by statute, the total number of judgeships in the unified superior court shall equal the previously authorized number of judgeships in the municipal court and superior court combined.

(b) The term of office of a previously selected municipal court judge is not affected by taking office as a judge of the superior court. A previously selected municipal court judge is entitled to hold office for the same time period as if the judge had remained a judge of the municipal court. Until a previously selected municipal court judge leaves office or a successor is elected and qualifies, the time for election of a successor shall be governed by the law otherwise applicable to selection of municipal court judges. Thereafter, selection of a successor to the office shall be governed by the law governing selection of superior court judges.

(c) The 10-year membership or service requirement of Section 15 of Article VI of the California Constitution does not apply to a previously selected municipal court judge.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 931, Sec. 257. Effective September 28, 1998.)

70212.
  

Except as provided by statute to the contrary, in a county in which the municipal and superior courts become unified, the following shall occur automatically in each preexisting municipal and superior court:

(a) Previously selected officers (including subordinate judicial officers), employees, and other personnel who serve the court become the officers and employees of the superior court.

(b) Preexisting court locations are retained as superior court locations.

(c) Preexisting court records become records of the superior court.

(d) Pending actions, trials, proceedings, and other business of the court become pending in the superior court under the procedures previously applicable to the matters in the court in which the matters were pending.

(e) Matters of a type previously subject to rehearing by a superior court judge remain subject to rehearing by a superior court judge, other than the judge who originally heard the matter.

(f) Penal Code procedures that necessitate superior court review of, or action based on, a ruling or order by a municipal court judge shall be performed by a superior court judge other than the judge who originally made the ruling or order.

(g) Subpoenas, summons of jurors, and other process issued by the court shall be enforceable by the superior court.

(h) The superior court and each judge of the superior court has all the powers and shall perform all of the acts that were by law conferred on, or required of, any court superseded by the superior court and any judge of the superseded court, and all laws applicable to the superseded court not inconsistent with the statutes governing unification of the municipal and superior courts apply to the superior court and to each judge of the court.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 931, Sec. 257. Effective September 28, 1998.)

70213.
  

(a) In a county in which the municipal and superior courts become unified, until revised by the Judicial Council, forms for proceedings within the jurisdiction of municipal courts may be used as if the proceedings were in a municipal court.

(b) The Judicial Council may adopt rules resolving any problem that may arise in the conversion of statutory references from the municipal court to the superior court in a county in which the municipal and superior courts become unified.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 931, Sec. 257. Effective September 28, 1998.)

70214.
  

When the municipal and superior courts in a county are unified:

(a) Until revised by statute, the total number of authorized court commissioners in the unified superior court shall equal the previously authorized number of court commissioners in the municipal court and superior court combined.

(b) Until revised by statute, the total number of authorized traffic referees or traffic trial commissioners in the unified superior court shall equal the previously authorized number of court traffic referees or traffic trial commissioners in the municipal court.

(c) The superior court or its judges may make appointments previously authorized to be made by a municipal court or its judges.

(d) Commissioners and referees of the unified superior court shall have all of the powers and authority of commissioners and referees of superior courts and of municipal courts.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 931, Sec. 257. Effective September 28, 1998.)

70215.
  

This article and other statutes governing unification of the municipal and superior courts in a county shall prevail over any inconsistent statutes otherwise applicable to the municipal or superior courts in the county, including, but not limited to, statutes governing the number of judges, selection of a presiding judge, selection of a court executive officer, and employment of officers (including subordinate judicial officers), employees, and other personnel who serve the court.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 931, Sec. 257. Effective September 28, 1998.)

70216.
  

(a) If unification of the municipal and superior courts within a county occurs during an election for the office of municipal court judge, the conduct of the direct primary election and general election shall be governed by the law otherwise applicable to the election of a municipal court judge.

(b) A judge elected pursuant to this section shall be deemed to be a previously selected municipal court judge within the meaning of subdivision (b) of Section 23 of Article VI of the California Constitution.

(c) As used in this section, “during an election” means during the period beginning on the 127th day before a direct primary election and ending on the day of the general election.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1998, Ch. 931, Sec. 257. Effective September 28, 1998.)

70217.
  

On unification of the municipal and superior courts in a county, until adoption of a statewide structure for trial court employees, officers, and other personnel by the Legislature:

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law contained in this title, upon unification, previously selected officers, employees, and other personnel who serve the courts shall become the officers, employees, and other personnel of the unified superior court at their existing or equivalent classifications, and with their existing salaries, economic and noneconomic benefits and other existing terms and conditions of employment that include, but are not limited to, accrued and unused vacation, sick leave, personal leave, health and pension plans, civil service or merit system coverage, and other systems that provide similar employment protections. The status, position, and rights of such persons shall not be affected by the unification and shall be retained by them as officers, employees, and other personnel of the unified superior court. This provision shall be retroactive to the date of unification and shall supersede any other provision of law governing at-will employment or exemption from civil service coverage applicable to these employees. It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that officers, employees, and other personnel of the superior court do not lose employment protections to which they were entitled when unification took effect as a result of unification.

(b) Permanent employees of the municipal and superior courts on the effective date of unification shall be deemed qualified, and no other qualifications shall be required for employment or retention. Probationary employees on the effective date of unification shall retain their probationary status and rights, and shall not be deemed to have transferred so as to require serving a new probationary period.

(c) Employment seniority of an employee of the municipal or superior courts on the effective date of unification shall be counted toward seniority in the unified superior court, and all time spent in the same, equivalent, or higher classification shall be counted toward classification seniority.

(d) No officer or employee with peace officer status shall lose that status as a result of unification, and any officer or employee authorized to perform notice and process services or court security services in the municipal court is authorized to perform those services in the unified superior court.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 891, Sec. 10.5. Effective January 1, 2000.)

70218.
  

When the municipal and superior court in a county are unified:

(a) Article 3 (commencing with Section 71630) of Chapter 7 of Title 8 shall be fully applicable to the county and the unified superior court.

(b) An employee organization that has been previously recognized as a representative of a group of court employees or the exclusive representative of an established appropriate bargaining unit of court employees, either by the county or municipal court or superior court shall continue to be recognized as a representative or the exclusive representative of the same employees of the county or unified superior court.

(c) An existing memorandum of understanding or agreement between the county, a municipal court, or a superior court shall remain in effect and be fully binding on the county, the unified superior court, and the employee organization involved for the term of the agreement. However, in the event of an election held under paragraph (2) of subdivision (e), (1) a memorandum of understanding or agreement with an employee organization that is no longer recognized as the exclusive representative shall continue in effect and be administered by the employee organization that receives a majority of votes in the election and is certified or recognized pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (e), provided that the memorandum of understanding or agreement shall be subject to reopening on request of either the unified superior court or the newly certified or recognized employee organization, provided that no changes in that memorandum of understanding or agreement may be made during its term without mutual agreement of the unified superior court and the newly certified or recognized employee organization, and (2) a memorandum of understanding or agreement with an employee organization that receives a majority of votes in the election shall remain in full force and effect until its expiration or until replaced by a subsequent memorandum of understanding or agreement.

(d) Nothing in this article shall disturb or affect any court- or county-established appropriate bargaining unit or memorandum of understanding or agreement between an employee organization and a county or court, unless subdivision (e) applies.

(e) (1) Where there is more than one employee organization that has been previously recognized as the exclusive representative of employees of the municipal court and the superior court, the county and the unified superior court shall continue to recognize each exclusive representative of each bargaining unit and shall continue to be bound by any existing memorandum of understanding or agreement covering those employees for a period not to exceed 225 days from date of unification, pending the exhaustion of the election procedure set forth in paragraph (2). Any conflicts in the existing agreements as to wages and other terms and conditions of employment shall be subject to negotiation between the county or unified superior court and each of the exclusive representatives.

(2) If after unification it is determined that two or more exclusive representatives seek to represent employees in a single appropriate bargaining unit, the unified superior court shall conduct a representation election in accordance with Article 3 (commencing with Section 71630) of Chapter 7 of Title 8. With respect to this process (A) the unified court shall meet and confer in good faith with all incumbent exclusive representatives regarding the establishment of appropriate bargaining units, (B) the county or unified superior court shall maintain a neutral position as to the competing employee organizations in the election, (C) the employee organization shall be certified or recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative upon receiving a majority of the votes cast in the representation election, (D) the election of an exclusive representative shall be conducted no later than 180 days from the effective date of unification or the effective date of this subparagraph, whichever comes later, and (E) the certification or recognition of an exclusive representative shall be complete no later than 45 days from the date of the election.

(f) This section applies to all unified superior courts, and the counties and employee organizations involved, beginning on the date of unification.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 1010, Sec. 13. Effective January 1, 2001.)

70219.
  

On submission by the California Law Revision Commission of its report to the Governor and the Legislature pursuant to Resolution Chapter 102 of the Statutes of 1997 recommending statutory changes that may be necessitated by court unification, the Judicial Council and the California Law Revision Commission shall study and make recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on the issues identified in the report as appropriate for future study, including consideration of the experience in counties in which the courts have unified. Each agency shall assume primary or joint responsibility for the studies and recommendations as outlined in the report, and each agency shall consult with the other in the studies and recommendations. This section does not limit any authority of the Judicial Council or the California Law Revision Commission to conduct studies and make recommendations authorized or directed by law.

(Added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 784, Sec. 340. Effective January 1, 2003.)

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