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SACRAMENTO � Jury service with your Jamba Juice? Not so fast, the state’s legislative analyst said Wednesday. The governor’s proposal to “partner” with private developers to build new courthouses � one idea includes sharing building space with commercial operations � is vague and premature, according to legislative analyst Elizabeth Hill. “It provides a weak model for legislative control and oversight of these major projects,” Hill said in a report analyzing details of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $103 billion spending plan for 2007-08. Hill recommends that lawmakers jettison the public-private partnership plan � which gives the Legislature 30 days to approve or nix a tentative deal reached between the administration and a developer � and instead ask the Judicial Council to return with a more detailed proposal that gives the Legislature greater oversight. The analyst similarly teed off on a number of other spending items the judiciary wants. Hill said a $5 million pilot program that would pay for attorneys for some poor civil litigants could put the state on the path of funding the service statewide � a cost that could reach $384 million annually, according to a 2002 study. The $5 million would be better spent on existing legal aid programs, the analyst concludes. Hill also recommends that the Legislature trim the trial courts’ budget by $584,000 because of an error in calculating the annual state-mandated spending boost. Administrative Office of the Courts Director William Vickrey said that most of the analyst’s concerns stem from a lack of up-to-date information about the courts’ plan. “Some of the questions that are asked are reasonable questions,” Vickrey said. “But I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to answer all the questions they’ve raised as we flesh out the details in the governor’s proposals.” The judiciary has no problem giving the Legislature oversight in court construction, Vickrey said, but officials do want to speed up an approval process that can take years and lead to a higher price tag on new buildings. As for concerns about the civil-attorney pilot program, Vickrey said “nobody is suggesting” that every poor litigant in the state should have a state-subsidized lawyer. Thus, fears of launching a $384 million program are “misplaced,” Vickrey said. Chief Justice Ronald George and Assemblyman Dave Jones have proposed a three-county program that would provide lawyers for needy clients only in some family law and unlawful-detainer cases. “I would hope after some further conversation that [the analyst] would reconsider because otherwise the result would be turning our backs on finding some answers about this issue,” Vickrey said. Hill took no position on the $2 billion courthouse construction bond measure Schwarzenegger has proposed for the 2008 ballot. She does urge the Legislature, however, to ensure that any future bond money is only spent on courthouses that have already transferred from county ownership to the state. The state has taken title to fewer than 20 buildings, though Vickrey said he expects that number to increase to 100 by late summer. Hill also rejected a plan to boost the salaries of certain deputy attorney generals to cut the pay disparity between them and a recently created class of supervising prosecutors in the Department of Justice. “Narrowing the pay differential between rank-and-file employees and supervisors from 5 percent to 2.5 percent would result in an annual salary difference of $3,000,” the report says. “We do not believe that such a salary difference would provide a sufficient incentive for rank-and-file employees to take on supervisory roles that require additional work and responsibility.”

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