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Courts pull plug on overbudget computer-modernization project

March 27, 2012 |  5:14 pm

The state Judicial Council decided Tuesday to halt a court computer modernization project that was years behind schedule and threatening to balloon in cost from $260 million to $1.9 billion.

The panel of judges, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, terminated the statewide project, but will allow local courts to pursue their own IT improvements while reviewing whether some aspects of the larger project can be put to use.

The project had been opposed by the Alliance of California Judges, a dissident group that said money being spent on the botched system was needed to keep courtrooms from closing in the face of state budget cuts.

"Today's action is only the first step, and we remain concerned that the JC has not truly and completely abandoned this failed project," the Alliance said in a statement. It called for an investigation "to determine whether the public is entitled to any reimbursement for the over $500 million that has been wasted."

The decision on the Courts Case Management System was also hailed by Debbie Pearson, a court worker from Alameda Superior Court, on behalf of the Service Employees International Union. “Today’s move by the Judicial Council to terminate deployment of the next phase of CCMS is a positive step in restoring access to justice as the top priority of our courts," Pearson said, noting that it will free up $46 million this year.


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Chief justice lobbies California lawmakers on court spending bill

--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento