A Rumpole Irregular writes to report that there are "high-level" discussions among the wearers of the Robes and attorneys on ways to reduce traffic in the REGJB. Apparently Au Bon Pain cannot keep up with the requests for Cappuccinos.
With the pending sale and closure of the Mahi Shrine Parking Lot, the question being pondered by great legal minds in our humble building, is:
"hmmmmm....now what do we do now?"
The solution of allowing represented defendants not to attend misdemeanor soundings seems like a quick fix. However, what do you do with all the unrepresented defendants?
The idea of excusing all of Sy Gaer's clients from attending court should also reduce traffic by about 20%. However, like solving the global warming crisis, there is more work to be done.
We humbly advance these ideas:
1) Do away with traffic ticket soundings. Really. Wasn't that going overboard just a little bit? A sounding for a traffic ticket? How about doing it on-line? Set up a web site, list the traffic ticket, have one of those traffic magistrates that everyone is nice to on the day their sister has a ticket, and have the Magistrate review the ticket and "post" a plea offer. The driver logs on, and can click "I accept" or "set for trial." If nothing is done, the case is set for trial.
And by the way, don't continue a traffic ticket trial. Ever. They pretty much have the same policy in Federal Court for matters that are a bit more serious, and it seems to work for them.
2. Judicial Economy.
The point to solving the pending parking crisis is, to borrow a legal phrase we once read somewhere, "inextricably intertwined" (sounds like something that happens on an L&L case) with Judicial Economy. No, we don't mean the going price for bribing a judge, what we mean is that Judges need to be more efficient.
We respect a Judge who requires a written motion before a matter is placed on calendar. But then what? In our memory, only Judge Izzy Reyes was efficient enough to have read our motion and drafted an order by the time we appeared in court. Our view is that the rest of the Judges just bank on attorneys being too lazy to write a motion. For instance, most county court judges will not let you calendar a motion to vacate a bench warrant without a written motion. But the written motion, when done, is a waste of paper. There is no written response from the State, and the motion is ignored during the court hearing. The attorney should be required to obtain a response from the prosecutor. There should be a rule that if the prosecutor doesn't respond within a certain period of time, the motion is granted for lack of opposition. Does this increase the work load on ASA's? Yes. But it reduces their in court work load an equal amount.
The point is that if we can be efficient in using court time, more extraneous matters would not be on the calendar. And that brings us to our last point.
ELECTRONIC FILING AND CASE MANAGEMENT:
It galls us to say this, but the Feds have gotten it right. The Feds have an electronic filing system that really does work. You file a motion, it's automatically emailed to the opposing party and all co-counsel. The Judge gets a copy, and when there is a ruling, its entered into an electronic docket that has the entire court file available in Adobe Format. Paperless filing removes the need for support personnel to scan documents. The written motion- and the response- becomes the motion the court relies upon- not an appearance at a hearing- and the matter is decided usually without a court hearing.
The point is that this is the electronic age of information. The State court system needs to do more to take advantage of the possibilities to streamline the flow of cases. This, in turn, frees up valuable court time for important matters, like motions to suppress and trials. Ask any trial Judge what their biggest frustration is? Outside of our snide comments in court, the overwhelming answer is "doing calendar." Solve the burgeoning calendar issue, and a by-product is that you solve the parking problem, and even help contribute to reversing global warming. Less use of paper, less travel to court, less greenhouse gases.
Become efficient, and go green.
Not a bad package.
See You In Court.