Alameda County Superior Court’s Upcoming Reorganization – From ACBA

changes-to-the-court-artwork_ACSuperiorFrom the Alameda County Bar Association’s ACBA News.

Top 10 Things to Know About the Upcoming Court Reorganization

Assistant Presiding Judge Morris Jacobson held a Town Hall Meeting at the ACBA on August 19th to introduce his vision for reorganizing the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda. By the time the Court completes transition in the middle of 2017, there will be a number of changes.

We’ve compiled a list below of the top 10 things to know (so far) about the Court’s upcoming reorganization for those who were unable to attend.

10. The East County Hall of Justice (ECHOJ) will be opening in the spring of 2017, and there will be net gain of 8 courtrooms in the East County.

9. All family law departments will be consolidated in Hayward.

8. All unlawful detainer matters will be handled in Hayward – from motion practice through trial.

7. Probate ultimately will be merged with the “Miscellaneous Civil” group, and will be heard in Hayward.

6. The Self Help Center will be consolidated in Hayward, and will no longer have satellite offices in other courthouses.

5. Free-standing Domestic Violence Restraining Orders will ultimately be merged into the Miscellaneous Civil group.

4. The Court is increasing the resources dedicated to settlement, and creating a new standalone settlement unit, with two thirds of the workload coming from civil, and one third from family.

3. Criminal matters will be concentrated in four courthouses:
• Felonies: Rene C. Davidson and ECHOJ
• Misdemeanors: Wiley Manual and Fremont

2. Details are still being hammered out, come to the upcoming town hall meetings (listed below) to learn more and give feedback.

1. The Court is making do with 70%of the budget and staff that it had six or seven years ago, and is trying to respond to that situation, as well as to streamline court services for the public and attorneys.

Want to know more? Assistant Presiding Judge Morris Jacobson is holding several town hall style meetings to share the plan, and hear your feedback. These meetings are free of charge, but RSVPs are required.

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings:

  • Criminal Defense (Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, Department 1A) – September 2nd at 12:30 p.m. RSVP here
  • Criminal Defense (Hayward Hall of Justice, Department 511) – September 3rd at 12:30 p.m. RSVP here
  • Probate (Hayward Hall of Justice, Department 511) – September 30th at 12:30 p.m. RSVP here
  • Family Law (Hayward Hall of Justice, Department 511) – October 1st at 12:30 p.m. RSVP here
  • Unlawful Detainer – To be Scheduled




Petition Filed in Alameda County Superior Court Claims Warehousing Of Mentally Ill Criminal Defendants

The American Civil Liberties Union is a party to a Petition for Writ of Mandate filed on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda.  The plaintiffs claim California “warehouses” mentally ill criminal defendants in jails without treatment for months, often in defiance of judicial orders.  Pamela Ahlin, Director of the California Department of State Hospitals, is named as a defendant.

The Petition for Writ of Mandate filed in Stiavetti v. Ahlin, RG15779731, is available here –   stiavetti_v_ahlin_acsuperior

The Courthouse News website story about the case can be read here.

Access to petition from DomainWeb

The Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, provides the public with online access to civil case records (documents and information) through DomainWeb.  The access to many of the records are now behind a pay wall on the court’s website but Public Reports (Filings) Search  provides links to all non-confidential cases filed on any given day —  by location and case type. This search page allows you to view the initial case creation petition (filing) for free for the first 5 days from the date of the filing.  DomainWeb allows for downloading of the document to your computer.





COLD Calling California State Government Agencies

heading_otechLooking for a telephone number for a California state official or staffer?  There is a great Internet resource with the acronym – COLD (California Online Directory.)

The California Online Directory is a service provided by the California Department of Technology. The Online Directory provides access to government information and services for state employees, local government and the general public. The directory services include state employee information, state agency information, and a State Government Organization Chart, as well as a keyword search.

Need the fax number for the Director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles?  (A real question at ACLL last week.)  It is there under the “Agency Display” for the department that is accessed through the Agency Lookup page.

    Director-Jean Shiomoto 916-657-6940
    Chief Deputy Director-Hugo Lopez 916-657-6940
    Deputy Director Of Special Projects- 916-657-6940
    FAX 916-657-2096


The California government agency organization charts are a great centralized resource for those legal researchers who are trying to establish the proper hierarchy for a department.  The California Judicial Council has its own page on the site but the local county courts do not.

The California Roster, also known as the Roster of Public Officials, is a listing of California’s public officeholders, including government officials, and the Judicial branch but only the main telephone number is listed for the individual court within the county section.  It also includes a history of California’s office holders,  a listing of all state agencies, departments, boards and commissions, and information on the state officials for each state in the nation.  The California Roster can be used to locate the appropriate official to serve in an action or proceeding against a public agency.  (Government Code 53051(c))

The California Roster which has been made available exclusively online by the California Secretary of State since 2005.

Looking for a telephone number for a court official?  The most detailed directory is Daily Journal’s California Court Directory available as a paper monthly supplement with a subscription to the publication.  It is kept at the Reference Desk at ACLL.



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Traffic Court — CA Courts’ Proposed Rule – Comment Period Ends June 5, 2015

From the CA Judicial Council website:

SAN FRANCISCO—At a special open meeting via teleconference on June 8, the Judicial Council will consider adopting a proposed rule that would direct courts to allow people who have traffic tickets to appear for arraignment and trial without deposit of bail, unless certain specified exceptions apply.

The rule also states that courts must provide traffic defendants with notice of this option in any instructions or other materials provided by the court to the public.

The rule was developed on an urgency basis at the request of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye in response to recent concerns about court procedures for deposit of bail when defendants challenge infraction citations in court. The council advisory bodies that developed the rule recommend it be made effective immediately.

Text of meeting announcement and proposed rule for traffic court.

JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA MEETING is open to the public unless indicated as closed (Cal.Rules of Court, rule 10.6(a))
Monday, June 8, 2015 • 8:00 a.m. –9:45 a.m.
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Court of Appeals 1st District – Destruction of Court Records Announced

First Appellate District Announces Destruction of Court Records
 An announcement from the Court:
The Court of Appeal, First Appellate District (San Francisco), has announced its intention to destroy Criminal and Civil records, case numbers listed here, pursuant to Rule 10.1028(d) of the California Rules of Court.

Anyone who knows of a reason why any of the records listed should be retained, whether for historical or other reasons, should notify Diana Herbert, Clerk/Administrator. The reasons for retention should be sent in writing by June 29, 2015 to:

Diana Herbert, Clerk/Administrator
Court of Appeal, First Appellate District
350 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA  94102

Please note that records and case files for actions that result in a published opinion will be retained permanently by the California State Archives, 1020 “O” Street, Sacramento, CA  95814. The Reference Desk can be contacted at 916-653-2246. Their web address is



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Alameda County Superior Court– Interpreters In Civil Matters — ALA-INT-001

The Alameda County Law Library recently received this notice:

To attorneys and all interested persons:

The Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, recently received approval from the Chair of the Judicial Council to adopt a new local form, ALA-INT-001, to take effect as of May 1, 2015. A copy of the order authorizing the off-cycle adoption of the form is attached, as is a copy of ALA-INT-001.

The form is used for requesting an interpreter in a civil matter, and the Court will be translating the form into a number of additional languages for ease of use. The translated versions of the form will be posted on the Court’s web site as they are completed.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Chad Finke
General Counsel
Superior Court of California, County of Alameda
1225 Fallon Street Room 209
Oakland, CA 94612
510-891-6273 phone; 510-891-6276 fax

Here is a link to a file with the new form.  An image and instructions follow in this post.


ALA-INT-001 (eff  May 1 2015)_1 (3)


ALA-INT-001 (eff  May 1 2015)_Instructions (2)

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The role of traffic court fines in the poverty cycle

Not Just a Ferguson Problem
Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How the Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California

Many have heard of the scathing March 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Justice on the police department of Ferguson, Missouri and the use of fines as a revenue source for the city — fines that are placed disproportionally on people of color via small infractions.  Unfortunately, similar methods of municipal financing is occurring in our own state.

A consortium of legal aid organizations:  The Western Center on Law and Poverty, the East Bay Community Law Center, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, have produced a report that looks at the impact on families of the policy of using traffic fines.  “Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California,” outlines how the fines have increased significantly since 2006, how the courts often impose the maximum fine and how there is little incentive not to since these fines support the courts, and how the resulting license suspension for not paying results in job loss and, therefore, further inability to pay the fines.


San Francisco has the Second Chance Legal Clinic for people who are in just such a predicament:  their license was suspended and they owe exorbitant fines.  This clinic also helps people that are barred from employment or housing due to past criminal actions.  The East Bay Community Law Center, who also helped with the above report, also has a Clean Slate Clinic.

You can find out about these and other resources at the Alameda County Law Library.