Pearson presents plans for Courts
During the June 12 Pleasanton budget workshop, City Manager Bruce Pearson said the Courts area has seen a significant increase in citations over the past year. This is due to tremendous traffic increases, as well as increases in misdemeanor crimes. During the 2012 fiscal year, the Court Clerk resigned and Judge Elsie Guerra was performing multiple tasks in that area. Without a clerk, the Judge was inundated, said Pearson.In January, dispatcher Charlie Lindley transferred to the open position and she has been a great asset to the Courts Department, stated Pearson.
Also in the 2012 fiscal year, the Pleasanton City Council began the process of clearing old warrants that date back to 2003. The City Attorney has been carefully reviewing those warrants and recommending the proper disposition for each of them. This program will continue until finished.
“We hope that initiative will conclude this fiscal year,” stated Pearson. “If not, we will carry over to finish early in fiscal year 2013.”
Pearson recommended a capital expenditure for a software package (Database and Terminal Servers for Court/COPsync/Badge) that will match the ticket writers carried by each officer with the court’s software program. This program will allow the Court Clerk and Judge Guerra to have all citations downloaded in real time to their software. This will help eliminate redundancy and save time for the Police Department, said Pearson. With such a dramatic increase in citations, this software package creates more time without the addition of personnel.
The Courts System presently has 41 cases set for trial. It has been determined that the reasons for the backlog are:
*The increased amount of citations from previous years.
*A large amount of trials are due to DOT Licenses.
Pearson explained that in order to hold and complete the trials in a timely manner, the Judge would have to shut the other side of the court down. This means she would not be able to have defendants appear before her to set fines, receive payments and close cases. There could be logistical problems with the County Detention Center as far as magistrate duties. The Courts System would “bog” down with the Judge’s presence during trials. Pearson said hiring an Associate Judge to conduct the trials would be beneficial to the city and is well-warranted. The Associate Judge would only work by the hour/part time as needed for trial.