As noted in this press release, the Chief Justice on Tuesday appointed Justice Ming W. Chin to the Judicial Council for a two-year term beginning January 5. He will occupy the seat presently filled by the retiring Justice Marvin Baxter. According to the press release, the Chief said: “ ‘Justice Chin has long been a leader on matters of statewide judicial administration, chairing both the visionary Commission for Impartial Courts and the statewide Technology Advisory Committee. . . . He has that invaluable combination of deep knowledge, vision, and collegiality that helps the judicial branch collaborate, self-assess, deliberate, and move forward. I look forward to his contributions on the council.’ ”

In a December 8 article in the Daily Journal [subscription required], “Tech savvy justice has big goals for seat on Judicial Council,” Paul Jones reports that Justice Chin said of his new role that “the opportunity to play a role in revitalizing the judicial branch after half a decade of crippling budget cuts seemed a worthy challenge” and that “one of his main interests will be promoting the use of new IT innovations to improve courts’ efficiency.” Jones quotes Justice Chin as saying “ ‘The advances in technology are breathtaking. Our courts are way behind and we need to catch up.’ ” Among the nascent technological efforts to win Justice Chin’s attention are: (1) a program in Fresno County that allows some court appearances via video—a means of easing the burden on litigants who have been forced by courthouse closures to travel greater distances to court; and (2) allowing court interpreters to help a larger number of people by interpreting via video.

The Daily Journal quotes Santa Barbara Superior Court Assistant Presiding Judge James E. Herman, who has overseen the Judicial Branch’s recent technology planning, as welcoming Justice Chin’s appointment to the Judicial Council. According to Judge Herman, Justice Chin is “ ‘incredibly tech savvy. He’s really just such a visionary in terms of what technology can do for access to justice.’ ”