Article VI of the Constitution creates the Supreme Court of California and the Courts of Appeal to exercise the judicial power of the state at the appellate level. Article VI also creates the Judicial Council of California to administer the state's judicial system. Chapter 869, Statutes of 1997, created the California Habeas Corpus Resource Center to represent any person financially unable to employ appellate counsel in capital cases.
The Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court Funding Act of 1997 (Chapter 850, Statutes of 1997) provided a stable and consistent funding source for the trial courts. Beginning with fiscal year 1997-98, consolidation of the costs of operation of the trial courts was implemented at the state level, with the exception of facility, revenue collection, and local judicial benefit costs. This implementation capped the counties' general purpose revenue contributions to trial court costs at a revised 1994-95 level. The county contributions become part of the Trial Court Trust Fund, which supports all trial court operations. Fine and penalty revenue collected by each county is retained or distributed in accordance with statute. Each county makes quarterly payments to the Trial Court Trust Fund equal to the fine and penalty revenue received by the state General Fund in 1994-95, as adjusted by amounts equivalent to specified fine and fee revenues that counties benefited from in 2003-04. The Trial Court Facilities Act of 2002 (Chapter 1082, Statutes of 2002) provided a process for the responsibility for court facilities to be transferred from the counties to the state by July 1, 2007, which was extended to December 31, 2009, by Chapter 9, Statutes of 2008. The Trial Court Facilities Act of 2002 also established several new revenue sources, which went into effect on January 1, 2003. These revenues are deposited into the State Court Facilities Construction Fund for the purpose of funding the construction and maintenance of court facilities throughout the state. Counties contribute revenues for the ongoing operation and maintenance of court facilities based upon historical expenditures for facilities transferred to the state.
The mission of the Judicial Branch is to resolve disputes arising under the law and to interpret and apply the law consistently, impartially, and independently to protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitutions of California and the United States, in a fair, accessible, effective, and efficient manner.
Since department programs drive the need for infrastructure investment, each department has a related capital outlay program to support this need. For the specifics on the Judicial Branch's Capital Outlay Program see "Infrastructure Overview."