Audit Of California Judicial Branch Governance sign now

We, the Undersigned, are urging you, Governor Brown and Joint Legislative Audit Committee members, to work with you, State Auditor Howle, on a comprehensive audit of the Administration of the Courts (AOC) and the Judicial Council (JC). This audit is needed because of conflicted interests and misappropriation of tax dollars that are meant to run California's judicial branch.

Many California courts are closing their doors because of lack of funding. Contributing greatly to the problem, on July 22, 2011, the JC chose to allocate an excessive amount of the judicial branch budget to the AOC. The AOC's sole function is to serve as support for the court - not to compete with them for needed funds.

AOC staff wrote the budget proposal that the JC allocations relied upon. We believe it is a CONFLICT OF INTEREST that AOC staff wrote the recommendations for allocation of funding, providing themselves ample while the trial courts are forced to close and lay off employees. When support staff put their interest over that of the courts they are to serve, they are no longer a benefit the courts or to the public. They are only a benefit to themselves.

Gross Mismanagement Of Computer System Tax Dollars

In February of this year, a Bureau of State Audits (BSA) report was issued regarding AOC's mismanagement of the judicial branch computer system. This system is still not functioning afer eight years and over five hundred million of costs incurred to date. The BSA report called out several specific areas of economic waste, gross mismanagement, incompetency, and inefficiency by the AOC.

In spite of the BSA advising need for outside oversight, the AOC recommended and the JC adopted that more tax dollars should be allocated to the AOC for the implementation of the computer system. These funds should have been allocated to the courts themselves. An overview of the BSA Report about the AOC computer system debacle may be read at: http://www.bsa.ca.gov/reports/summary/2010-102

Gross Mismanagement of Construction Tax Dollars

In addition, it has been evidenced that the AOC hired and overpaid unlicensed contractors. It is reported that several hundreds of millions of dollars are still unaccounted for, with no explanation given. Regardless, AOC recommended and the JC adopted that funds should be allocated to the AOC for more court construction.

There is approximately $82 million dollars that could have been and should have been allocated by the JC to keep courts open. Instead, this money was allocated to the AOC for the "management" of the computer system and the construction of new courts. It is not logical or fiscally responsible to force already built courtrooms to close so funds may be given to established financial mismanagers for the purpose of building new courts.

Gross Mismanagement of Pension Tax Dollars

It has been evidenced that AOC hired contractors who are not state employees. These contractors have been provided handsome state pensions to be paid with Californians' tax dollars.

Gross Retaliation of Whistle Blowing Employees

There are no less than four current lawsuits by former AOC employees alleging retribution for blowing the whistle on the fraud, waste and abuse by the AOC. When a judicial system becomes a retaliatory body that a functioning judicial system would protect against, an audit of its leadership is clearly evidenced to be direly needed.

Gross Lack Of Regard For The Public's Best Interest

With the closure of courts because of misappropriation of funding to an administrative support body, AOC, the time before citizens are able to have their cases heard will be greatly increased. Many businesses and lives depend on the courts' ability to promptly adjudicate matters, including the lives of many California children. Justice delayed is justice denied and is not in the best interest of the California workers, families and businesses.

Duties of Joint Legislative Audit Committee & Bureau of State Audits

The California State Auditor is the only state entity that is given full access to all records of state agencies. General powers of the California State Auditor include the ability to subpoena records, take depositions, and administer oaths. It is the resource to the Legislature for oversight and accountability by its ability to conduct independent, nonpartisan audits.

Investigations by the California State Auditor's Office originate from:
Requests approved by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee
Designation of a program or agency as high-risk for waste, fraud, mismanagement, or that have major challenges that relate to efficiency or effectiveness
Allegations of improper conduct by state employees

Given that:
1. The amount of tax dollars allocated to run the judicial branch is in the neighborhood of $4 billion annually; and

2. The AOC has a BSA evidenced recent history of mismanagement of funds; and

3. There are hundreds of millions of dollars unaccounted for by the AOC hiring and overpaying unlicensed contractors with no explanation; and

4. State pension funds have been allocated by AOC to non- state employees; and

5. AOC has several allegations against them for retaliating against whistle blowing employees; and

6. Trial courts are being forced to close when $82 million that went to the AOC could have been allocated to the courts by the JC, while causing the delaying and denying of justice for Californians; and

7. AOC wrote the proposals upon which the JC relied to allocate a disproportion amount of tax dollars to the AOC for future funding;

We, the Undersigned, urge Governor Brown and the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to promptly order a Bureau of State Audit comprehensive audit of the Administration of the Courts and the Judicial Council. This audit is for CONFLICTS OF INTEREST aiding the misappropriation of judicial branch tax dollars in a manner that is adverse to the public's best interest.

**NOTE TO PETITION SIGNERS**

THIS PETITION LETTER WILL NOT BE MAILED TO GOVERNOR BROWN, THE JOINT AUDIT COMMITTEE MEMBERS OR AUDITOR HOWLE UNLESS 500 SIGNATURES ARE OBTAINED.

No one's name or email address will appear on the Internet.

Signers will be listed in alphabetical order by last name - not in the numerical order they signed the petition.

All signers must use their real name and identify their home city.

This petition will be converted to professional letter form before sent to the addressees. A copy will be emailed to all signers.

Email addresses will not be included in the letter, but will be made available to the recepients of the letter upon request.

There is a comment section for this petition. Please comment, but please be brief and concise. Comments more than 200 words will not be sent.

Time is of the essence. Courts are scheduled to start closing in less than 40 days.

Thank you all for your help.

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Janette MatthewsBy:
FoodIn:
Petition target:
Honorable Governor Brown, State Auditor Howle, and member of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee,

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