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Meeting Information


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Commission meeting of October 24, 2001

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J. Kennedy (deputy City Attorney) stated that the memo referencing confidentiality was a privileged and confidential correspondence to the members of the Commission. In order to discuss that memo, the Commission would have to waive the confidentiality before he could talk about it publicly. Comm. Arámburo said that it important for the Commission to discuss this, as there are times when the Commission sees confidential reports and documents, and she is not aware if a court order is attached to those. But access to them is critical to the Commission’s work. She asked whether it can be agendized as a discussion item, or whether she could request an opinion from Kennedy’s office as to who does represent the Commission and can petition for an expansion of the standing order. Kennedy said that he could discuss the petition process (without specificity to the memo), but he believes the City Attorney’s office could prepare the petition, and go before the Court to gain access to case files. Typically when a petition is heard, the judge reviews the case files and can redact any confidential info that should not be disclosed, and then release the files to the petitioner. W&I code deals with case files (specific types of files), other types that fall outside of [827] may be accessible.
Comm. Hale asked if this could be a closed session discussion. Kennedy felt it couldn’t be.
The President asked that it be agendized at the next Commission meeting, as confidentiality requirements regarding juvenile records, for the Commission.
Comm. Grossman, responding to the President’s comments about Judge Feinstein, felt that her (Feinstein) age or length of service is germane to her criticism, and it was criticism. The Commissioner believes it was constructive criticism and was taken as such by the Chief. Feinstein had requested things in writing in February and she didn’t get a response. But she didn’t criticise just to criticise. She offered constructive observations that were in fact critical. This Commissioner took it positively. She said that both the Chief and Mr. Miller have demonstrated that they like the outreach, and the court is an important constituent of the Dept. This Commissioner supports the Dept, and the judge does too.
Comm. Arámburo agreed. It was very positive for the judge to come to the meeting, and she thinks the Chief took those comments in that light, as did Mr. Miller. She said that Mr. Miller’s work is greatly valued at the ranch, especially by the youth. There are a lot of good things, but she wanted to get the Commission’s attention to things needing improvement.
Comm. Hale stated that his comments were not about her age, but her tenure. And wisdom on the bench is absolutely relevant. Her motives or her comments were not what he was addressing. He was acknowledging that the staff has in many instances identified and addressed the issues she raised. Judge Feinstein is a stakeholder. Neither she nor any court is the end all or be all. In his perspective, the top stakeholder is the community. Quite honestly, "we’re" in this state as a system because the courts, the public defenders, the DA, social welfare depts, have dropped the ball in this county, in counties across this country. So for anyone to come in here and all of a sudden make glowing state[ments], --I don’t care how correct the criticisms are-the fact is that we have dropped the ball, and I want to acknowledge our staff for the work that they’ve done, not to disparage Judge Feinstein.
9. (ACTION) Adjournment
There being no further business, Comm. Chuck led a prayer, and the meeting was adjourned in memory of Chief Williams’s son, Jesse E. Williams III, at 8:10 pm.