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Efficiencies & Innovation

The California judicial branch is widely acknowledged as a national leader in developing and implementing programs that enhance access to justice. In recent years, numerous initiatives have been implemented statewide and at individual trial courts to ensure that public service is delivered effectively and efficiently for the benefit of court users.

The following programs provide a broad overview of some of these efforts and initiatives.


BRANCH EFFICIENCIES


These programs, available in many courts, focus on making structural improvements to the justice system. They are often cost effective, as they benefit from economies of scale and centralized administrative oversight. They also frequently improve the overall experience of court users in accessing court services.  View all branch efficiencies.


EFFICIENT & EFFECTIVE TRIAL COURT PROGRAMS


Numerous effective and efficient programs, developed by trial courts, have been assembled in a Knowledge Center where courts can exchange ideas, service delivery approaches, technology solutions and other innovations with their peer courts. Below is a sampling of some of the programs contained in the Knowledge Center that focus on improved public service. View all programs


My Jury Duty Portal

jury thumbnailThe "My Jury Duty" Web Portal is designed to be a "one stop" shopping center for jurors utilizing the latest in Web technology. It allows jurors to respond to their jury summons in the convenience of their homes and virtually 24/7. Jurors may register, postpone, request excuses or transfers, receive their reporting instructions, and access a host of other functions that provide jurors with information and services, including maps, videos, local eateries, and the ability to chat real time with agents. Jurors may also receive their mandatory orientation through the portal. This system introduces operational efficiencies and cost savings for the Division.

Further, the Web Portal also directly interfaces with the Court's Mail Opening, Scanning, and Extracting System (MOSES)/Juror Activity Coding System (JACS) by automatically creating digital images of the jury summons based upon responses provided by jurors and sends these images to MOSES/JACS to be further processed by Juror Services staff.

Program Benefits/Savings:
The outcome of this program was as additional avenue of access to the Court, resulting in better service to jurors and greater efficiency for the Court. Use of the Web Portal, which has grown to approximately 28% of all jurors registering for jury duty, has reduced the burden on staff assigned to assist callers by telephone and allowed staff to be reassigned to other areas of court operations. Since its release in August 2011, the Web Portal has received approximately 2.8 million hits. Each hit represents staff time saved. Success was also gauged using the reliability of the system, which has experienced negligible downtime. A third measure of success was surveying and soliciting comments jurors provided using the Web Portal. The survey results yield an impressive 95% juror satisfaction rate with the Web Portal.

Efficiencies were realized in reducing the number of telephone calls and documents processed by staff and allowing some staff to be allocated to other operational areas. Staff whose time was previously allocated to handling phone inquiries can now process these digital summonses via the JACS system between calls. Additionally, using web services to communicate with the jury management system saves the court money by reducing the activity on the mainframe.

Portal Login

One Day Divorce

 

family law thumbnailThe One Day Divorce Program helps low-income, self-represented litigants to complete their dissolutions of marriage and obtain final judgments in one day. Volunteer attorneys and law students partner with the litigants to prepare all of the paperwork necessary for the final judgments. The litigants then appear before the judge and have their judgments entered on the record. Litigants leave with a final judgment in hand. Two days per month we provide assistance to cooperative couples or single parties whose spouses have defaulted to complete their divorces in one day.

To prepare for the program, the court held an orientation and training event where we invited law students from three local schools, temporary judges who work on settlement conferences and attorneys with fewer than 10 years of experience. Through this outreach effort and our attendance at various bar functions we have utilized over 70 volunteers who support our program. We did not anticipate having so many qualified and supportive volunteers.

Program Benefits/Savings:
Success is measured through the feedback from litigants who have participated in the program. Litigants' testimonials have included:

  • "I always had the feeling that the system was out to get me. Today the system was actually working for me."
  • "The lawyers made the process a lot more effective. No more time off work, back and forth to court. Judge flat out Got It Done."
  • "This class took away my stress of dealing with this by myself. Thank you guys very much."
  • "Frankly, I think this was a miracle."

Access the One Day Divorce Program

Related Information:

Real DUI Court in Schools Program

 

community outreach thumbnailThe Court brings real DUI trials to local high schools. It is typically held in a school auditorium or large meeting space and many students attend. The defendant waives his right to a jury trial and a real court trial is held with 12 students serving as an advisory jury. Prosecutor and defense counsel present the case and witnesses, such as the arresting officer and toxicologist, give testimony. The students deliberate and render a verdict after the Court has already ruled, so as to eliminate any influence. The trial is followed by a question and answer session. The defendant receives community service credit towards his fines for participating in the trial.

Program Benefits/Savings:
Continued interest and positive feedback from the participants indicate that the program has a strong positive impact on the students. Locally, the continued request for trials from different schools and the positive feedback reflect success. This is a very effective way to reach a large audience and to convey not just the perils of drinking and driving, but also the role of the justice system.

Related Information:

Remote Video Proceedings

 

traffic light thumbnailIn a collaborative project with the Cities of Coalinga and Mendota, the Court has commenced Remote Video Proceedings (RVP) in traffic matters. This free service is a convenience for violators cited outside the Fresno-Clovis area and who must travel 15 miles or more from where their citations were issued to appear in traffic court in downtown Fresno. Instead of going to Fresno these defendants may elect to appear in traffic court by videoconference from the Cities of Coalinga or Mendota. The City of Mendota will hold RVP for traffic court every Tuesday morning. The City of Coalinga holds remote proceedings every Wednesday morning. These cities each have a large room similar to a courtroom equipped with wide-screen camera, a large television monitor, and microphones. They connect by videoconference to a courtroom in the M Street Courthouse with the same equipment. Everyone, including defendants and the judge, is able to see, hear, and speak to each other through this video connection.

On RVP days, the court has an employee in Coalinga and Mendota to conduct roll call as well as gather documents from defendants and law enforcement officers. After that, the court proceeds as in a traditional traffic hearing. If defendants or law enforcement officers have exhibits that were not submitted earlier, the court employee can scan/e-mail or fax the documents immediately to the judge. The Court will know in advance if an interpreter is needed and will ensure that one is present in Coalinga or Mendota prior to the start of RVP.

Program Benefits/Savings:
The pilot project is expected to end December 2015 but so far the program has had a lot of positive reviews.

Access the Fresno Superior Court Website

Traffic On-line Arraignment Date Scheduling

 

traffic light thumbnailThe court developed a web-based application to allow traffic customers the ability to reserve an arraignment date in advance through the court's website. This solution provides a convenient alternative to the customer having to call or come into the clerk's office to schedule an arraignment date.

Program Benefits/Savings:
Overall the program has been successful, although the Court would like to get to the point where all reservations are made via the online process. Currently, the Court still allows customers to call or come in person to make a reservation. Also, the online reservations are not directly scheduled through the case management system (CMS), but rather through an application IT staff developed that interacts with and obtains certain information from the CMS for verification purposes. The reservations are placed in a queue and the clerk's office has to verify additional information and then set the hearing in the CMS. Ultimately, the Court would like to modify the process so that everything is done through our CMS.

The number of traffic customers standing in line and the number of customers calling and/or coming to the clerk's office to reserve an arraignment date has been reduced. Additionally, since the arraignment calendars are now prepared a couple of days in advance, instead of the same morning as court, the clerk's office staff has more time in the mornings to assist other customers not appearing in court and to process other priority work. The courtroom also gets through the calendar proceedings faster since courtroom staff do not need to wait for additional information from the clerk's office.

Access the San Mateo Court Web Application

Tribal Alliance

 

community outreach thumbnailThe Riverside County Tribal Alliance for Indian Children and Families is dedicated to increasing participation, communication, and understanding among the Court, the tribes, and County agencies serving Native American families. The Alliance was formed in 2005 under the leadership of the Court. The goal is to minimize Court and County intervention and increase tribal participation and control over Native American children and families by developing culturally appropriate services. Alliance members are working to create and sustain partnerships founded upon understanding, communication, and cultural awareness among the sovereign tribal nations and community and governmental agencies.

Program Benefits/Savings:
The Tribal Alliance sees this as an opportunity to collaborate for the betterment of children in Riverside County. For example, there have been numerous instances of cooperation and assistance between Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) and the various tribes. This was made possible because of the Riverside County Tribal Alliance. Indirect benefit has been seen such as the Court establishing contact with tribal groups, understanding issues and challenges the tribes face. DPSS has better assistance with adoptions and finding emergency placements.

Access the Riverside Superior Court Website

LEGISLATIVE EFFICIENCIES


The Judicial Council has encouraged trial courts to offer ideas for statutory changes that could result in more efficient court procedures and operations, cost recovery for increasingly burdensome tasks, and/or new or increased court revenue. This has resulted in chaptered, proposed, or pending efficiencies legislation as reflected in Efficiencies Legislation.
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