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2000-02-10

PRESS RELEASE
February 10, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Community Focused Court Planning
Long Range Strategic Plan



The Superior Court of California, County of Alameda is pleased to announce the adoption of its Community Focused Long Range Strategic Plan. The primary goal of the Plan is to encourage lines of communication between the Court and the public it serves. The Court is dedicated to providing excellent customer service. The Strategic Plan was developed in response to new Standards of Judicial Administration section 39 and amended California Rules of Court 205, 207, and 532.5, recently adopted by the California Judicial Council.

The Alameda County Superior Court enthusiastically embraced Community Focused Court Planning, eagerly collaborating with community members to develop useful and meaningful service to the public. The Community Focused Court Planning Committee, chaired by Hon. Gordon S. Baranco, Judge of the Superior Court, has viewed the Community Focused Court Planning process as an opportunity to listen to the concerns of the community and respond to the service needs of Alameda County residents. The goal of the Committee is to ensure that the justice system is as efficient and effective as possible.

The Committee includes members of the public, representatives of city government, Judges, Court Administrators, court employees, representatives of the Alameda County Bar Association and the Office of the County Administrator.

Evening meetings were held throughout the County during May and June, 1999. More than 1,500 notices were distributed inviting public attendance. The Court’s judicial officers and staff attended to listen to community concerns. In order to gather additional public comment, the Court expanded its web site to include an e-mail address to which the public could submit comments and concerns and established a 24 hour message number. The Court also distributed a county wide survey to more than 1,000 court stakeholders to determine areas in which the court could improve its service.

Based upon the feedback it received from the public, the Superior Court adopted a Community Focused Strategic Plan. The Plan focuses on five areas based upon recurring themes. These areas include:

  • Education/Community Outreach
  • Jury Management
  • Modernization
  • Juvenile/Youth
  • Specialized Court Services

To meet goals established in the Education/Community Outreach area, the Court is expanding Educational Programs and will begin conducting site visits to Bret Harte Middle School and local high schools. Additionally, the Court is working to improve customer service by constructing public information booths at all court locations and developing ways for improving transportation accessibility to the court for jurors. To meet the needs of increasing cultural diversity in Alameda County the Court is augmenting its customer service to develop cultural awareness training for judicial officers and court staff so that they continue to provide outstanding service to all court users, promoting access and assuring fairness in all court processes. Also, the Court will institute Help Centers to assist litigants who choose to represent themselves in legal matters. To maintain efficiency in court business, the Court is re-engineering its technology, making improvements and expanding its services. Moreover, in promoting increased access and understanding of the court system, the court is in the process of expanding volunteer services at the Court. To enhance services in family law matters, the Court has established a new committee to research and develop methods for making the judicial system more responsive to the special needs of children and families. Furthermore, the Court is developing newsletters, brochures, and informational videos to increase community awareness regarding the role and function of the Court.

The Court realizes that the adoption of the Plan is merely the first step in making the Courts more responsive to the needs of the community.

In the next few months the Court will hold community meetings in various locations throughout Alameda County to present the Plan and receive comments. Based upon the public feedback, the Court will consider revising its Plan, as it is a living document for improving and expanding our mission.

The Strategic Plan is available for public view on the Court’s web site:
www.co.alameda.ca.us/courts/index.htm.

The contact for this information release is Barbara J. Fox, Chief Assistant Executive Officer at (510) 272-6504.
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