On The Money: Computer Controversy

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS13) — CBS 13 has learned that millions of dollars will be transferred from California’s trial courts to a controversial computer system that’s been riddled with problems. The Judicial Council made the ruling today by a vote of 13-2 to transfer the funds, a decision that has sparked protest from the top judge in Sacramento County.

Steve White is the Presiding Judge for the Sacramento County Superior Court. He was in San Francisco on Tuesday to strongly object to a plan that he says could take $88 million away from the trial courts.

Judge White says the money would go instead to the troubled California Court Case Management System (CCMS) – an Information Technology project that has already cost $1.7 billion in public funds, according to Judge White.

“Here’s the problem. It isn’t working,” Judge White said.

“It’s enormously expensive and we don’t have to have it. We all have computer programs. Some are better than others but we could run the courts with what we’ve got. What we can’t do is run the courts with the door shut,” said Sacramento’s Presiding Judge.

Judge White told CBS 13 that moving the money, “will result in closure of courts. It will reduce court hours. It will affect people up and down the state.”

The California Case Management System is currently the subject of a state audit that is expected to be released in February, according to the Bureau of State Audits.

If you see examples of government waste, send us an e-mail to onthemoney@kovr.com. You can also follow On The Money stories in progress via Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/mikeluery

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