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California Chief Justice Lays Out Goals For Equal Access To State’s Courts

Rich Pedroncelli / AP / File
 

Rich Pedroncelli / AP / File

The chief justice of the California Supreme Court says the state’s judicial branch is working to improve access to everyone.

“We must ensure that income inequality doesn’t translate into a two-tiered justice system,” Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in her annual State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the California Legislature Tuesday.

The chief justice added that fines and fees should “no longer fall on those least able to afford them” and that minor traffic offenses shouldn’t “turn poor drivers into poor criminals.”

Cantil-Sakauye and the judicial branch helped craft last year’s legislation to eliminate cash bail. That law is on hold after the bail industry placed a referendum on it onto the November 2020 ballot. But the chief justice said county courts will continue to test out new programs that evaluate the pretrial release of defendants based on their flight and public safety risks.

She also said county courts now provide language interpreters for many civil cases, including domestic violence, child custody and evictions.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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