In Sonoma County most people are likely to be effected to some extent by family law, whether it is personally or through family and friends. Given the current condition of the family court system in California, can it be repaired?
Because family law is an area of importance, where courts resolve issues important to the futures of our families, children and local communities, bringing change is multifaceted. On April 23, 2010 in San Francisco, The Judicial Council of California accepted the Elkins Task Force Report of 117 recommendations.
Developed by a 38-member task force, including several Sonoma County legal experts, this sweeping report is designed to increase access to justice for the thousands of Californians who appear before court judges. The problems which exist in California family court are legendary.
In 2007, the California Supreme Court faced a difficult question. Were procedures used in court, intended to make the process easier for the litigants, in fact violating their rights to due process? The Court concluded that more needed to be done and it issued a call for action which was what lead to the task force being established.
From the Elkins website, "Throughout its work, the task force has sought input from individuals and organizations with experience and interest in California's family courts, through focus groups, a survey of attorneys, and extensive opportunities for public input via the task force's Web site, letters, and phone calls."
Experienced attorneys in Sonoma County are looking forward to the change that the Elkins Task Force is sure to bring to the current system for their clients.
Appearing in Sonoma County since 1997, Family Attorney Joann Campoy says of the approved Elkins Task Force Report "It is a significant study which provides many recommendations which I would like to see implemented in our courts". Ms. Campoy based in Santa Rosa also stated that this report is "bound to "improve the processes for everyone involved in family court proceedings and better meet the needs of the public".
The Council initially charged the Elkins Task Force with two different duties: (1) to conduct a comprehensive review of family law proceedings; and (2) to make recommendations to the Judicial Council designed both to ensure due process, and to provide more effective and consistent rules, policies and procedures in family law matters.
Now accepted, the recommendations are aimed at improvements-from securing more judicial officers for historically under-resourced courts with huge caseloads all the way to expanding legal services for the many people who cannot afford an attorney.
The Judicial Council also approved on the same day, the establishment of a committee that would implement the task force's recommendations. People all await future news in Sonoma County to see what change the committee will bring once established to the family law courts.