Honorable Mention

Innovations in the California Courts - 20 of Years of Great Ideas
The programs on this page received honorable mention for the 2010–2011 Ralph N. Kleps Award for Improvement in the Administration of the Courts because they advanced past the first level of Kleps Award Committee review and met the initial criteria.

The Kleps Award review process is rigorous and comprehensive. After the eligible programs are fully evaluated, some may not meet all of the Kleps Award criteria but may still be employing innovative methods to address local concerns, or may be successfully improving services in their communities.
The committee wishes to share these notable programs with the judicial branch, acknowledge the work being done by these courts throughout the state, and thank them for participating in the Kleps Award process.

The Superior Court of Napa County created the Judicial Branch Exploration Program for selected high school juniors and seniors to increase their understanding of the court system and its relationships within the community. Students participate in a 26-hour intensive program over a three-week period in which they gain in-depth knowledge of criminal, civil, and family law. The program includes courtroom calendar observation, site visits to justice and community partner agencies, and simulated legal arguments before a judge, based on real case facts.

The Court Appearance Reminder System (CARS) was implemented by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County to remind defendants of their scheduled court dates. The goal of CARS is to reduce the number of defendants who fail to appear in court. CARS reminds defendants by phone of their court dates and also offers them the option of paying the citation by phone in lieu of appearing in court.

The Superior Court of San Bernardino County’s Exhibit Management Program preserves the integrity and safety of evidence and exhibits through the implementation of proper training, communication, and accountability measures. The program is a collaboration among the superior court, local law enforcement, and the district attorney’s office to establish a protocol for the handling and tracking of exhibits. Accountability measures are reinforced through biannual random internal audits of a representative sample of all exhibits in the court’s custody, and exhibit clerks receive training in proper procedures.

The Superior Court of Santa Clara County created the Juvenile Justice Video Conferencing Program, which uses videoconference technology to allow minors in long-term out-of-county placement programs to participate in their permanency planning hearings. These hearings, held every six months per California law, can occur without having to physically transport the minor to court, minimizing escape risks and the costs associated with transport.
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