Innovations in the California Courts - 20 of Years of Great Ideas
We are pleased to share with you the fourth edition of Innovations in the California Courts. This publication showcases the innovative work by courts throughout the state to improve justice for all Californians.

The past few years have brought severe financial challenges to California. Now in the third consecutive year of budget reductions, California’s courts have had no choice but to make cuts that will impact the fundamental work of the court and touch upon all facets of life in our state.

Local courts across California are making difficult but necessary decisions about reductions in service to the public, court closures, staff layoffs and furloughs, and new and more efficient methods of operation. In tandem
with these local decisions, the Judicial Council—the constitutionally mandated policymaking body of the California courts—wrestles with balancing the immediate needs of the courts with the long-term maintenance necessary for the future health of the branch.

Even in times of fiscal crisis and severe budget challenges, California courts continue to find ways to improve, innovate, and advance the administration of justice and find new and better ways to serve the public.

The first section of this edition profiles the 2010–2011 recipients of the Ralph N. Kleps Award for Improvement in the Administration of the Courts. The programs highlighted are shining examples of the ingenuity and creativity that are a mainstay in the California courts.

Established in 1991 in honor of the first Administrative Director of the Courts, this award recognizes courts that have implemented innovative programs that further the overarching goals of the Judicial Council’s strategic plan:

Goal I: Access, Fairness, and Diversity 
Goal II: Independence and Accountability 
Goal III: Modernization of Management and Administration 
Goal IV: Quality of Justice and Service to the Public 
Goal V: Education for Branchwide Professional Excellence 
Goal VI: Branchwide Infrastructure for Service Excellence

The Kleps Award Program does more than recognize projects. Through this venerable tradition, we salute the creativity in California’s courts, foster a culture of innovation, and celebrate the spirit of public service.

This year marks the 20-year anniversary of the Kleps Award Program. Ideas that were revolutionary at the time—family law courts, self-help centers, and form filing systems just to name a few—are now common practice. This spirit of innovation was able to flourish under the leadership and support of Administrative Director of the Courts William C. Vickrey, recently retired. We can look back with pride at the programs that have been recipients of the Kleps Award since its inception.

The second section of this publication provides a retrospective look at some of the programs that have been honored throughout the years and the courts and people that have made them all possible.

The final section, Statewide Initiatives, highlights projects that have brought people together to share and leverage the collective resources, experience, and wisdom of courts throughout this vast state. Several projects are administrative and technological in nature and support the overall infrastructure of the branch. Some projects are efforts by the courts to reach out to the communities we serve. Other projects demonstrate the work of the courts toward successfully moving people out of the justice system. While these projects range in size and scope, they all contribute to the strategic goals of the judicial branch.

We would like to thank the many individuals at the courts chronicled in this edition, not only for the extraordinary contributions they have made through these programs, but for the contributions they make every day. We believe that we can meet the many challenges before us if we work together and focus on the shared goal of delivering justice to all Californians.


Tani Cantil-Sakauye                                                Ronald G. Overholt
Chief Justice of California                                      Interim Administrative
Chair of the Judicial Council                                  Director of the Courts


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