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SACRAMENTO — The Judicial Council’s so-called educational or “issues” meetings, the closed-door gatherings that convene the day before the council’s regular business hearings, will open to the public for the first time starting Aug. 25.

The secrecy-shrouded meetings have long been the target of critics who suggested they provided a safe forum for council members and Administrative Office of the Courts staff to dissect controversial topics so they could avoid public debate and vote quickly — and frequently unanimously — the next day.

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