Chief Justice Uses Retired Judges To Reduce Criminal Case Backlog

Close-up Of Gavel And Justice Scale

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye announced today the start of a program to use retired judges to decrease delays in getting criminal cases resolved during the pandemic.

The goal of the Temporary Assigned Judges Program is to reduce backlogs accrued, and it will likely remain in effect until the COVID-19 state of emergency is over, Cantil-Sakauye said.

“Courts, prosecutors, and defense counsel will face a substantial number of cases as we emerge from shelter-in-place orders and the COVID-19 pandemic unless the justice community makes a concerted effort to take action now,'' she wrote in a memo to court leaders.

Judges from the program will conduct readiness conferences or cover matters for local trial court judges assigned to conferences. Courts will be encouraged to work with their partners to make the program as expansive as possible given their local needs.

Under the program, appearances will be mandatory, either through counsel or by the defendant if he or she is self-represented. The conference could take place in person or through remote appearance, based on availability of court facilities and whether the conference is being staffed by a judge from the program.

A court requesting an emergency order with a time extension for holding criminal trials will be required to include a description of their readiness conference program.

Photo: Getty Images

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