What changes, if any, would you recommend to run the Ventura County courthouse more effectively and efficiently?
Defense Attorney Paul Tyler, of Oxnard:
"One of the biggest problems I have as a practitioner in dealing with certain types of cases in court, specifically infractions, is the Collection Department. The Collection Department is managed separately from the Clerk's Office or it's a separate part of it."
"The problem people have problems with is when they have a traffic ticket that they have to appear on and it goes to civil assessment, which is when they don't appear, they add an extra $800 in fines. "
"Trying to get that case on calendar is a nightmare. You can't do it through the clerk's office. For whatever reason, the clerk - that calendar's cases - can't access the computer and put them on calendar. "
"So then I call in to the collection office. And, they say 'well, we can't deal with you. You're an attorney. We have to deal with the person directly.' I have to talk to the supervisor. The supervisor says, 'yes, we can put it on. But we can't put it on for 10 days or some long period of time.'"
"It seems like a minor thing but it's actually a real hassle just getting infractions dealt with because the Collections Department seems to operate under separate rules from the normal clerk's office, and it's a problem."
Defense Attorney David L. McDuffie, of Ventura, said:
"I just think that a lot of the (criminal) things they file are BS cases. They really don't need to be filling the courthouses with some of the cases they file. It takes up space. It takes up time. It takes up effort. And if they would stop doing that we could free up a lot of the court time."
"I think the DA needs to look a little more carefully at what they're filing. I am sure they'll tell me that 'they are looking carefully at them.' Some of the things they are asking for in their offers to settle are too extreme. People aren't going to settle at the very first opportunity they have if the offer is too high."
Defense Attorney David Martinez , of Ventura, said:
"As far as the criminal side of things, most of the cases are DUI. They're the ones that are going to tie up the court. One of the problems is that in the arraignment court, the prosecutors don't negotiate. But you can get a better deal if you draw the case out and keep coming back. So that just ties of the system. It's a waste of time when you could have disposed the case earlier in the case. That's an area that could really make a big difference."
"Allow prosecutors to negotiate on arraignment on a DUI. I think that would save the court a lot of time. Oftentimes, there are needless continuances and what not with the hope that a better deal will come out of it. Empower (prosecutors) to negotiate because they don't."
What are your thoughts and comments?