A story first made the rounds quietly in November of last year about a proposed ethics rule that is just broad enough and vague enough that it can be used as a tool by AOC to punish any judge with the gumption to criticize decisions of the AOC. That rule has passed, unsurprisingly (Note: when you see a news report that something entirely likely to occur is "unexpected," that should tip you off to the agenda of the reporter, not that the event was "unexpected"). It was entirely expected that it would pass. It was proposed to stifle dissent by using the costs associated with an ethics inquiry to shut down free speech.
We have two simultaneous problems in California's judicial branch of government, a constitutional and co-equal branch. First, the judicial branch is catastrophically underfunded. The Los Angeles Superior Court should not be shutting down courtrooms. A member of the bench who shall remain nameless told me that with the coming courtroom closures in Los Angeles, the average caseload that is currently running somewhere between 550 and 600 cases per judge will jump by about 150 cases per courtroom. What sort of justice will anyone receive under those conditions?
Second, the AOC has ballooned into a bloated bureaucracy that serves itself. Why did the AOC mushroom from 100 employees to well over 1,000 employees inside of a decade? Fixing this bloat would save some money. Getting rid of the endless boondoggle of the unicorn known as CCMS saved some money, but it doesn't close the gap between current funding levels and what those levels should be at to have courts in each county that can manage the caseloads they face. I don't know the right caseload for a civil trial court, but it isn't 550 case, and it surely isn't 700 cases. You'd probably receive real attention and a better measure of justice if those caseloads were more like 250-300 cases per courtroom.
I condemn the current and past legislatures for allowing this to happen. I condemn AOC for succumbing to corruption and administrative bloat (I refer to the allegation of embezzlement in the alleged amount of $100,000 that was not reported or charged as an example of that).
So to the massive audience of Legislators reading this and waiting for my go-signal, here it is: Fix the funding shortfall (who cares if you have to cancel a high speed train to do it - this is a co-equal branch of government we're talking about) and root out the administrative bloat (in other words, start insisting upon the firing of AOC staff until you have half the number you started at and then reassess, and then get rid of some more).
By the way, if someone handed me half the amount of money that was wasted on CCMS, I could have a Statewide court system database up and running in a few years, with enough left for me to retire on in a castle that I would have constructed out of rare marble on my own private island.