Courts and the Community
Disability access symbols Courts Reaching out to Their Communities

The Court recognizes that respect, inclusion, access and transparency are critical components in developing the community’s trust that justice will be applied fairly and equally. As such, the Court participates in numerous activities focused on outreach, education, two-way communication and elimination of bias in an effort to foster relationships with the community and open a doorway to productive dialogue and discussion.

These activities partner with our schools, youth, families, businesses, legal communities, service-based organizations, and the general public.








Activities include the following:  Collapse All Expand All  

Judicial Mentorship Program

Purpose:

This program was developed to assist all attorneys applying, or interested in applying, for a Superior Court judicial position. The program will assist in the development of a qualified and more diverse judicial applicant pool. This program is designed to identify, encourage, and provide mentors for all individuals considering a judicial career. One primary goal of the program is to convey to the legal community the uniform message of Governor Newsom’s commitment to appointing a highly capable bench reflective of the rich diversity of our state.

Program:

The Riverside County Presiding Judge will appoint a standing committee comprised of a diverse group of mentor judges. While JSAC members are prohibited from serving as mentors, they may participate in the committee’s outreach efforts as appropriate. Interested attorneys who contact the court will be paired with a mentor judge who will discuss the prospective applicant’s career objectives, answer questions regarding the application and vetting process, and be available to provide general guidance in drafting the application. A court staff member will be assigned to coordinate the activities of the committee and keep track of mentor assignments and outcomes. The program will be promoted by the Presiding Judge and members of the committee at local bar association meetings, on the court’s website, and by a press release.

The mentor component will work in coordination with local bar and affinity bar organizations. The new court program is not intended to supplant existing bar judicial recruitment programs; but, to complement the needs of particular organizations by providing mentors with current insight into the governor’s judicial appointment priorities and processes.

Prospective mentees (judicial applicants) should be in good standing with the state bar. Priority will be given to those mentees who have applied, or are eligible to apply and intend to do so within the next 12 months. Attorneys who do not meet these criteria can still apply for a mentor who can provide general guidance for the future judicial applicant. To the extent practicable, pairings will be based on common areas of legal practice, affinity bar memberships, and other factors. There is no guarantee that a particular mentee will be assigned a mentor judge whose interests align closely with theirs.

The mentorship will end once the mentee has completed the JNE process or one (1) year after the judicial application has been submitted, whichever is sooner. The mentee can reach back out to the mentor program if there is activity on their application after this time period.

Outreach:

The goals of this outreach effort are to:

  1. Inform members of the legal community of the new court program,
  2. Share consistent information regarding this governor’s judicial appointment criteria as articulated by Judicial Appointments Secretary Luis Céspedes,
  3. Identify and encourage others in the greater legal community for assistance in recruiting a diverse pool of qualified judicial candidates.

The program will work with local bar associations, nonprofit legal organizations, government lawyers, law firms, and solo practitioners to identify and encourage promising judicial candidates to apply for appointment. The goal will be to mentor them in their development, thus creating a pipeline of highly qualified applicants eligible for appointment.

Program Policies:

JSAC members will not serve on the mentor panel as their evaluative work is cordoned off from direct individual contact with judicial applicants. It will be made clear to participants in the mentor program that participation in the program will not serve as an inside track to appointment, nor are mentors advocates for a participant’s candidacy. Mentors will be prohibited from endorsing or formally supporting their mentee’s candidacy, unless that support was forged from a pre-existing relationship. Mentors will not provide confidential information regarding any of the state’s internal evaluative processes. Participation in the mentor program is not a guarantee of a judicial appointment.

To apply to the program, please fill out the Judicial Mentor Online Application.

For additional information, please contact the court at:
 JudicialMentor@riverside.courts.ca.gov (email)


Committee to Eliminate Bias and Promote Equal Justice

Mission Statement:

The Riverside County Superior Court joins the California Supreme Court in condemning racism, historical biases, and discrimination in all forms. We recognize and accept that there is much work to do to ensure equality and inclusion are a reality for all. Therefore, we will strive to improve our communication between the Court, justice partners, and court users while identifying and confronting institutional racism, historical biases, and discrimination within the justice system and our community. We continue to evaluate and address our commitment to uphold our constitutional values to ensure equal justice to all who appear before us and the communities we serve.

Subcommittees:
Education Subcommittee

Mission Statement:
The Education Subcommittee strives to raise awareness amongst the judiciary, its justice partners, and the community on issues concerning the Court’s efforts toward elimination of bias, ensuring equal and equitable justice, fair access to the courts and inclusion. The subcommittee will implement educational workshops, forums, and promotional means to accomplish this goal as well as provide an understanding of individual experiences.

Outreach Subcommittee

Mission Statement:
The Outreach Subcommittee’s mission is to provide the legal community and the public with knowledge about the role of the courts, to provide accurate information about the judiciary and increase public trust by addressing historical and implicit bias through community activities.

Stakeholders' Subcommittee

Mission Statement:
The Stakeholders' Subcommittee engages and collaborates with local stakeholders to identify and address inequalities within the court system. The committee will meet regularly and discuss topics relating to equality and social justice in order to strengthen ties with the community.

Press Release:
Riverside Superior Court Forms “Committee To Eliminate Bias and Promote Equal Justice” (pdf ).


Mock Trial

The Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) introduced the Mock Trial Program to California counties in 1980. Students participate in a simulated trial that is set up and structured just like a real court and learn about the roles that judges, lawyers, witnesses, and others play in our judicial system. Each year, CRF produces a new set of Mock Trial materials based on an important issue facing America's youth. The materials include a hypothetical criminal case, lesson plans, and competition rules and guidelines.

In California, the program engages over 8,000 students and participants each year with the help of teacher-sponsors and attorney-coaches, and thousands of members from the state’s bar and bench who volunteer their time to make Mock Trial an exciting educational experience for the students.

The Riverside County competition typically involves six to seven rounds of trials in which an estimated 1,000 students, parents, teachers, coaches, attorneys, and judges participate. Winners of the county competitions go on to the state finals in March, with the winner of the state competition representing California at the annual National High School Mock Trial Competition in May. The national competition involves teams from 54 states and territories.


Speakers' Bureau

The judges of Riverside County have formed a Speakers Bureau to inform the community about the role of courts and the issues and needs of the community in court-related matters. As a community service, we can provide speakers for your meeting, event, or school.

The court formed the Speakers Bureau for two reasons: One, to increase public understanding and knowledge of the judicial system, and two, to provide a forum for judges and members of the community to discuss common concerns. The court faces unique challenges in this time of explosive population growth and we remain aware of the diverse needs of the community. Usually, we find that our speakers take away from a speaking engagement as much information as they have shared. This ongoing dialogue enables us to stay in touch with the people we serve.

Topics for Consideration:

  • Bails/Jails/Prison
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Drugs/Gangs
  • Drunk Driving/Traffic
  • Civil/Small Claims
  • Family Law
  • How to Become a Judge
  • Juvenile Issues
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Role of the Judge
  • Jury Service
  • Three Strikes

Law Day

Law Day, officially established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, provides an opportunity to reflect on our nation’s legal heritage and the role of law in our society. In 1961, a joint resolution of Congress designated May 1 as the official day for observing Law Day, but celebrations often take place either before or after that day and are often celebrated as Law Week. Each year, the American Bar Association selects a theme for Law Day and issues a helpful planning guide and other materials to assist schools and organizations in planning Law Day events.

For more details visit the American Bar Association Website.   Link to External Site: American Bar Association


Good Citizenship Awards

As part of its annual Law Day activities, the Riverside County Bar Association sponsors the Good Citizenship Awards ceremony for Riverside County high school students, which the Court hosts at the historic Riverside County Court. Principals of participating Riverside County high schools choose a junior to receive the award based on their exemplary good citizenship.

Each student selected receives public recognition, a cash award, and certificates commemorating the day from the Riverside County Bar Association, the Riverside County Superior Court, and various public officials. As family and friends look on, approximately 40 students each year are recognized in this special ceremony.

For more information on this program, please contact the Riverside County Bar Association at:
 951.682.1015.


Youth Court

The Riverside Youth Court was developed as part of the City of Riverside’s juvenile justice system and is managed by the Riverside Police Department in partnership with local agencies. The Riverside Youth Court acts as an early intervention for first-time juvenile offenders and is designed to give youth between the ages of 10 and 17, who have broken the law and admitted their guilt, a second chance.

The Southwest Valley Youth Court offers a similar alternative approach to juvenile justice in which juveniles are sentenced by a jury of their peers for infractions and non-violent misdemeanor crimes. The Southwest Valley program is operated by the Murrieta Police Department.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department sponsors the Elsinore Valley Youth Court Diversion Program, which intervenes in the early stages of delinquent and criminal behavior in order to reduce and prevent the escalation of criminal behavior among juveniles.