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Trial Court Consolidation: Panacea or Pandemonium?

NCJ Number
San Diego Justice Journal Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Dated: (Winter 1994) Pages: 89-108
C L Patrick
Date Published
20 pages
In November 1994, voters in California were faced with a proposition to combine all superior, municipal, and justice courts in the State into a single district court within each county.
Senate Constitutional Amendment 3 (SCA 3) purports to be the next step in what is claimed to be a logical progression of court organization into a single unified trial court. This article argues, however, that the existing two-tiered system works well in meeting the public's need for judicial service. Proponents of SCA 3 have the burden of proof to establish that the new single trial court system will continue to meet those needs at least as well as the present system and that any reduction of service to the public would be justified by substantial savings in cost and efficiency. Because little thought has gone into determining how many judges can be effectively managed by a single, co-equal presiding judge, California voters would be better served by efforts to improve the present court system. 81 notes


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