31 Days – The Chief Justice & Judicial Council’s crafty, predictable ploy

Posted on August 16, 2011


Good afternoon, California. It is 31 days before the civil justice system begins to be dismantled here in California. Anyone who really pays attention to current events and has followed the Judicial Council and the AOC should have already nailed down their strategy. That strategy is to enlist trial attorneys to advocate the JC’s position – if they want to ever see another paycheck for their work.

By cutting off access to the civil justice system in favor of CCMS and new courthouses,  by cutting trial courts to the bone and ensuring they have to eliminate the civil justice system to preserve the criminal justice system, you instantly gain a whole lot of well-heeled, comparatively wealthy individuals and law firms that see the “no paycheck” writing on the wall. When the Chief Justice tells these attorneys that this is all the fault of the legislature under funding the trial courts and omit that the judicial council refused to back fill these cuts with construction funds, you have a whole lot of attorneys advocating for their own pay checks.

This is precisely the situation that the Judicial Council sought to nurture and they appear to be doing so with some success.

Case in point: A. John Montevideo is President of the Consumer Attorneys of California – the very group whose San Francisco members will be waiting 5 years to see their next pay check if these cuts go down.  In a recent op-ed published in CAOC’s forum magazine, Mr. Montevideo wishes to paint AB1208 as a fallback to the dark ages of 58 fiefdoms and wishes to paint the 400+ members of the Alliance of California Judges as a bunch of sqabbling malcontents that are ignoring the real issues – which amount to paychecks for CAOC members. He seeks to unite all parties by ignoring all of the significant issues that are not CCMS related while giving CCMS a bit of an endorsement.

What Mr. Montevideo does not mention is that the civil justice system is being shut down to fund new courthouses and CCMS. He doesn’t mention it at all because unlike most of us, he did not sit in and listen to the last judicial council meeting and watch tragedy unfold. Like 98% of consumer law attorneys, he probably didn’t give a rat’s ass about the judicial council meeting and does not understand how that meeting is affecting him more than the legislature could ever do.  The legislature gave the judicial council a method to mitigate their funding cuts using court construction funding.  We all know what happened next. They chose new courthouses and CCMS over the civil justice system to purposefully put these attorneys up in arms and to enlist them as legislative advocates for more judicial branch funding.

Note: Not more trial court funding – more judicial branch funding.  Give it to the AOC, they will make the decision on how to waste it and pass what is left to the trial courts.

Consumer and trial court attorneys are so far removed from the inner workings of the Judicial Council and the AOC that they just learn to trust what a justice is telling them – even if it is a bald face lie. Back to our theory of how the big lie has been so successful, it is because no lawyer would believe for a second that a chief justice is calling for a meeting to mislead them.  (the following is a modified excerpt of our post “The Big Lie”)

The principle–which is quite true within itself–that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of  attorneys a nation (or other bodies of persons) are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature (like the threat of not getting a pay check) than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.

It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that anyone  a chief justice could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation, for the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”

 Mr. Montevideo has been had. He’s been sold a bill of goods. He bought hook, line and sinker and is now irresponsibly tossing his own weight around as president of the CAOC repeating the same mis-truths to thousands of other lawyers around the state. In the process, he has alienated a whole lot of judges that probably suspect his eyes are brown for a non-genetic reason. We’ve seen similar arguments being made across the state by trial lawyers who stand to lose their forums of redress due to budget cuts.

Mr. Montevideo, it is much more than just CCMS. Please make an effort to understand the other side before you come out guns blazing, supporting a known liar.

When it comes to our attention that these bar leaders have drunk the kool-aid in their writings and you make us aware of it, we will call them out by name.

To quote Mr. Montevideo’s last line of his haphazard op-ed hidden behind a paid firewall:

“The time has come for the guardians of our courts – the judges themselves – to halt the internal squabbling and work together to steer our justice system through these hard times.  Our new Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has heard the complaints from all sides and is standing strong to maintain the vitality of our justice system. We need to stand with her.”

She’s heard them alright. Then she ignored them and is using you and thousands of other attorneys who would like to get paid as political pawns to get her way.

Wake up Mr. Montevideo.