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San Bernardino has six judicial vacancies, and Riverside has one. San Bernardino will get $1.94 million in funding to keep court reporters in civil and family cases, and Riverside will get $1.76 million. These, and other updates, were discussed at the Judicial Council’s July 21 general meeting.

The meeting and its reports saw a wide range of reports that included both specific details about each court, and statewide pretrial programs.

According to one of the discussed reports. Riverside has a critical need for a new five-courtroom Indio juvenile courthouse and a new nine-courtroom Palm Springs courthouse. Both projects are currently unfunded.

Riverside requested $838,000 from the state’s trial court trust fund to go to the juvenile courthouse, and requested $1.35 million from the fund to go to the new Menifee courthouse, which is under construction.

San Bernardino will get $8.3 million from the 2023-24 state budget toward a new addition and renovation at the existing juvenile dependency courthouse. The project will add two courtrooms.

The Judicial Council also expects to spend $9.98 million on studying and acquiring the land for a new 31-courtroom Victorville courthouse in 2027.

San Bernardino and Riverside will each get $75,000 in the next year toward the Court Appointed Special Advocate Local Assistance program.

The Judicial Council is considering giving Riverside County between $1.96 and $2.3 million to support the CARE Court pilot program in the county. It is estimated to receive about a quarter of the total funding for the project, which is being split among seven counties.

The Judicial Council discussed the statewide pretrial diversion program. The pilot program tracked 422,000 defendants waiting for trial in 17 superior courts between 2020 and 2023.

San Bernardino and Riverside counties were not part of the pilot program.

The pilot findings showed a decrease in recidivism rates, the presenters claimed.

“We’re releasing more people, and yet we’re seeing fewer arrests, fewer rebookings for that population,” said presenter Francine Byrne, criminal justice services director.

The diversion programs resulted in:

  • 5.7% increase in pretrial release for misdemeanors
  • 8.8% increase in pretrial release for felonies
  • 5.8% decrease in rearrest/rebooking for misdemeanors
  • 2.4% decrease in rearrest/rebooking for felonies
  • 6.8% decrease in failure to appear for misdemeanors
  • 2.5% increase in failure to appear for felonies

“I believe that the changes in the pretrial arena will be some of the most critical changes in our criminal justice reform in this state,” said presenter Marsha Slough, retiring Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, justice.

The meeting ended with accolades to Slough, who presided over many appellate cases out of the Inland Empire, and announced her retirement earlier this month.

“There’s not enough time for me to go over how much Justice Slough means to me, on a personal and professional level,” said San Bernardino Superior Judge Kyle Brodie.

“Her work, your work, your vision, your ability to bring people together, to keep us honest, to keep us focused on the oath that we all took, the goal of serving the public…I’ve always thought that in this career, in this life, if you can leave the world a little better than you found it, then you can count that as a success. I cannot count the ways that you have made us all better,” Brodie said.

Read the report here.


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