Chief Justice Calls for Webcast of Oral Arguments, Bail Reform

Chief Justice Calls for Webcast of Oral Arguments, Bail Reform by Staff Writer for the California Bar Journal, Amy Yarbrough

In a move aimed at making the state’s court system more transparent, the California Supreme Court will soon start webcasting its oral arguments.

The announcement came during the annual State of the Judiciary address to legislators on March 8, when Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye also highlighted other court improvements and called for reforms, including to the bail system.

The webcasts will begin at the court’s May oral argument sessions in San Francisco, according to Cathal Conneely, a spokesman for the Judicial Council. Although the court’s special outreach sessions with high school and law students have been broadcast online since 2005 and audio and video in other select cases have been made available, webcasts have not been a regular practice until now, Conneely said.

Now in her sixth year as chief justice, Cantil-Sakauye also spoke of the need to eliminate inequities in court fees and fines, which she said have “morphed from a system of accountability to a system that raises revenue for essential government services.”

Of the approximately $1.7 billion the judicial branch brings in each year, more than 60 percent pays for programs at the state and local level. The rest goes back into the court system, she said.

Read the entire article here.


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