Bench-Bar Liaison – sample

Bench-Bar Liaison – sample

Laura Walther, Esq., of Cartwright, Scruggs, Fulton & Walther

Laura Walther, SCCBA Secretary

by Laura Walther, of Cartwright, Scruggs, Fulton & Walther

The third Bench Bar meeting of 2014 took place at noon on July 16, 2014, in Department 5 of the Santa Cruz Court. Presiding Judge Paul Marigonda led the meeting. Judges Connolly and Almquist were present (Judge Almquist was present via live feed from the Watsonville Court).

Court Budget
Judge Marigonda confirmed the end of the fiscal year in June 2014 marked the end of our Court’s ability to access budget funds that were unused in past fiscal years. With the start of the new fiscal year in July, 2014, our Court is now limited to accessing only 1% of any unused funds. It must run effectively and efficiently within the annual fiscal budget provided by the state. Although Judge Marigonda did not foresee these changes leading to any cuts in our Court services, he did confirm that any expansion to the present Court system was unlikely. The budget in place now allows for a 5% budget increase every fiscal year, and because the Santa Cruz Court made budget changes early on in this economic crisis, Judge Marigonda does not expect any further reduction in function or services will be necessary under the new budget. However, the new budget does not allow for the Self Help center to continue in Santa Cruz (it is now closed). Our Court hopes the Santa Cruz Law Library will continue to support access to legal information in Santa Cruz. Judge Marigonda confirmed the Watsonville Self Help center remains open and provides assistance to 1600 to 1700 people per month.

New Case Management System
Before the implementation of the new fiscal budget, our Court purchased a new Case Management System which will begin operation in July 2015. The Tyler Odyssey Case Management System will allow e-filing, and attorney access to preliminary rulings. It is a cutting edge system that the Court will be installing and learning to use during the next year. Official use will begin by July 2015. E-filing is expected to be in use and functional by September 2015, and will likely use an un-editable PDF format.

Santa Cruz Court Wi-Fi Access
Within the next month, the Court expects the new wireless access system to be installed in all courtrooms. Much thanks to the Santa Cruz Bar Association and Trial Lawyer’s Association for organizing and funding this access.

Court MCLE Events
The Court confirmed its willingness to allow the Santa Cruz Bar Association to hold four MCLE events per year in a Santa Cruz courtroom. This allows the Santa Cruz Bar Association to reduce the cost of the MCLE events for the attorneys attending.

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