Ramirez v. Bakersfield Police Dept., et al.

Filing 22

ORDER to Plaintiff to File a Consent or Decline Form Within 10 Days, signed by Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on 11/18/2014. Status Conference re Consent / Initial Scheduling Conference set for 11/21/2014 at 09:30 AM is VACATED. (Attachments: # 1 Consent / Decline Form)(Hall, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ANTONIO RAMIREZ, JR., Plaintiff, 12 13 14 v. BAKERSFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., 15 Defendants. 16 17 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No.: 1:14-cv-00978 --- JLT ORDER TO PLAINTIFF TO FILE A CONSENT OR DECLINE FORM WITHIN 10 DAYS Currently set before the Court is a status conference re: consent set for November 21, 2014. 18 However, because Plaintiff is incarcerated and the defendants have filed their consent forms already, 19 the status conference is VACATED. In addition, Plaintiff is ORDERED to file his consent or decline 20 to the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Judge within 10 days. To allow Plaintiff to make informed 21 decision about whether to grant his consent, the Court provides him the following information: 22 For nearly every year over the last decade, the Eastern District of California has carried the 23 highest weighted caseload of any district in the entire federal system. The judges carry caseloads 24 which are more than double the national average. The causes for this are many-fold. First, over the last 25 30 years, California’s population has expanded significantly and many of these people live in this 26 District. Likewise, numerous prisons have been constructed in this District bringing thousands and 27 thousands of inmates to this area. This growth of inmate and non-inmate populations has caused the 28 civil and criminal caseloads to explode. 1 1 Second, the Eastern District of California has not had a new judgeship in about 30 years. Thus, 2 the same number of judicial officers is handling exponentially more cases now than the same number of 3 judges handled 30 years ago. As it stands, the Fresno Division has only one active district judge and 4 one part-time senior district judge who are constitutionally obligated to place priority on criminal 5 matters. Despite this, more than half of the civil cases filed in the District are filed in the Fresno 6 Division. The Sacramento Division has four active district judges and two senior district judges so the 7 Court has been forced to redirect many of the civil cases filed in the Fresno Division to the Sacramento 8 Division. At the outset of this case, the parties were reminded of this judicial crisis and were advised 9 that their case had been randomly selected to be reassigned to the Sacramento Division. (Doc. 17-1) 10 The impacts of the judicial crisis are easy to track. Assuming a District Judge ever finds time to 11 try the case, it takes longer for cases to come to trial, litigants are forced to have their trials continued 12 many times before they are heard, trials may trail from day-to-day until the District Judge has time to 13 hear them or trials are interrupted, once started, to allow the District Judge to take matters of higher 14 priority. 15 Until change occurs, the Court must employ all reasonable tactics to attempt to advance the 16 cases through the system. Here, the parties are allowed the option of consenting to magistrate judge 17 jurisdiction—and allow their case to proceed in a convenient location in a timely fashion—or, to 18 decline this option and allow the case to proceed in Sacramento. The Court understands the frustration 19 of counsel and hardship on the parties if the matter is transferred to Sacramento but unless and until this 20 Court is afforded additional judicial resources, it simply cannot continue to hear the multitude of civil 21 cases field in the Fresno Division. 22 If Plaintiff affirmatively consents to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction, all hearings will remain in 23 the Fresno Division and will not be transferred to Sacramento. The trial would occur in Bakersfield 24 which would ease the Plaintiff’s ability to present witnesses who, in all likelihood, are located in 25 Bakersfield. Just as with a final judgment issued by a District Judge, any appeal from the final 26 judgment issued by the Magistrate Judge would proceed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 27 28 Plaintiff may consent or withhold consent to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction without any adverse substantive consequences. However, in the event that Plaintiff does not consent, all hearings and the 2 1 trial will occur in Sacramento. Moreover, if the trial occurs in Sacramento, the parties’ ability to 2 compel witnesses to appear at the trial may be reduced. 3 Therefore, within 10 days, Plaintiff is ORDERED to file his consent or decline to the 4 jurisdiction of the Magistrate Judge. The Clerk of the Court is DIRCTED to provide Plaintiff a form 5 for that purpose. 6 7 8 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: November 18, 2014 /s/ Jennifer L. Thurston UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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