October 14, 2013
Sometimes a case needs to be moved from one Court of Appeal to another. The reason for the transfer can be recusals of Court of Appeal justices or, sometimes, to balance workloads. Transfers between divisions in the same Court of Appeal district can be accomplished by the district’s administrative presiding justice. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 10.1000(b)(1).) For inter-district transfers, however, the Supreme Court must step in. (Cal. Const., art. VI, § 12(a); Cal. Rules of Court, rule 10.1000(a)(1)(C).) It’s another one of the Supreme Court’s jobs besides deciding cases.
The Supreme Court recently exercised that transfer power. Arthur Gilbert, the presiding justice in Division Six of the Second District Court of Appeal, has his own appeal after the Los Angeles Superior Court dismissed his lawsuit against the state controller. According to news reports, the lawsuit challenges a part of the state constitution that, with certain exceptions, provides that a judge, “during the term for which the judge was selected is ineligible for public employment or public office other than judicial employment or judicial office.”
Los Angeles appeals are docketed in the Second District Court of Appeal (and are assigned to any division in the District except Division Six, which sits in Ventura and hears appeals from certain counties other than Los Angeles; except when the Second District’s administrative presiding justice transfers Los Angeles appeals to Division Six, but that’s another story). However, the Second District asked the Supreme Court to transfer the case “due to the recusal of a majority of the justice[s] of this district.” The Supreme Court agreed, moving the case to the Fourth District, Division Three, which sits in Santa Ana.